Another review! Since school’s ending (my finals week is this week!!), I’ve had a lot more time to play games, so I’ve actually been getting around to playing some of the games in my backlog. Today, I’ll be reviewing a game I purchased during Steam‘s Christmas Sale last year – Limbo.
Let’s dive right in with me saying this: I don’t like open-ended and subtle narratives. I hate them. I like to have my narratives laid out in front of me with character as the more subtle element. That aside, Limbo’s plot is fairly simple: you know that you play a boy who is seemingly in Limbo (at least, that’s what I thought), who is looking for his sister. Although simple, that’s enough for the game to be enjoyed.
You do see a few things – a giant spider, dead humans, and even ones that are alive and hostile. What they mean, I have no idea, and this is my problem with subtle narratives – it’s all up to interpretation, and I don’t like that. The ending is the same way (and it’s rather abrupt), so you never actually find out what the story is – you’re supposed to interpret it for yourself. But, despite my distaste for these kinds of narratives, Limbo does do a really nice job setting its world and narrative up, and it really adds to the replay value for those who enjoy these kinds of narratives.
I don’t like it, but Limbo does it very well.
This is by far my favorite part of the game. Everything’s laid out to you Noir style, so you’re given only black and white, and it is stunning. The faded out backgrounds in grey, the lights and darkness at the end of puzzles, the lighting effects with blurs and shadows – all of it is simply fantastic! It really sets and maintains the mood of the game throughout the entire experience. I especially loved the character model. The few musical compositions are great, and they really invoke emotions when you do hear them since they’re during critical narrative parts of the game. Throughout most of the game, all you hear are sound effects, but those are fantastic background noise, especially once you get to the more city-like areas and you hear the gears and crackling of electricity. It was a game that I felt benefited greatly from the quietness of not really having a soundtrack.
I really can’t say anything more – you simply have to experience it yourself. I think this right here is enough of a reason to replay (and buy) the game.
I was looking up plot details to see if anything official had been released (there hasn’t as far as I know), and I came across “trail and death” as a style of game, and I think this was a good way of categorizing Limbo. Some of the puzzles I died multiple times just to get the timing right, but while some may find this kind of game frustrating, I enjoy it. The checkpoints where nicely set, so I never felt like I had to do something I had just done over and over, and the difficulty wasn’t even bad – many of the puzzles were thought-provoking, and I enjoy that in a puzzle-oriented game. It definitely has replay value, but knowing the puzzles already does detract from it unless you enjoy time attacking.
Overall, Limbo delivers an excellent experience for those who enjoy puzzle games and a more subjective narrative. I would recommend it to anyone, especially since it’s so cheap! It’s indie games like this that I will continue to buy because they’re always good!
P.S.: Limbo is currently part of the newest Humble Bundle that is out right now. It’s for a limited time, so I suggest you go get it – it’s got a ton of great games PLUS Limbo, and you get to name your price!
Go here to get it! — http://www.humblebundle.com/