"This game should only sell for 5 bucks (not 15), but it's still pretty good."

When a game's major flaw is the asking price, odds are you've got something really good to work with. LIMBO definitely fits the mold there, but 15 dollars is seriously far too much for this game given how short it is and how little there is to do. Somewhere in the 5-10 range would have worked much better, if that.

LIMBO is a two-dimensional side-scrolling puzzle platformer game. It's a mouthful to say, but the game is actually quite simple. X jumps, O performs an action if applicable, and the left analog stick moves. Those are the only three buttons used in the entire game, though the d-pad not seeing any use for movement is honestly really dumb. There needed to be an option to change that.

There isn't much of a plot, but that's okay. You're a nameless child stuck in limbo in search of his sister, the end. The actual ending is fairly profound, but before that the story is rather nonexistent.

The meat of LIMBO comes in the gameplay and atmosphere. The entire game sets out to make you feel like you're isolated, which you are. The entire style is done in a hazy film grain black and white, which is meant to scare the bejeezus out of you and it will happen on more than one occasion. I won't delve into spoilers much, but there's a giant monster near the beginning who absolutely refuses to go away, and even after it dies you half expect it to come back to life and kill you some more.

There's a lot of puzzle solving to be done, though that does get into the one major problem LIMBO has other than its short length. Once you're used to the atmosphere and the big monster from the beginning is finally dead, the game is basically over. You're technically not even halfway through at that point, but don't expect anything else even remotely as interesting to happen. From around chapter 11 until the ending, you're really not doing much. Some new puzzles and new mechanics get thrown at you, and they're definitely interesting, but it feels like the game should be doing more. Not saying the game is bad -- on the contrary, it's definitely worth playing -- but there definitely could have been a lot more here.

The obvious comparison to make is with Braid. Braid is a similar indie puzzle game revered by critics and gamers alike, but Braid struck the right balance between length, difficulty and replay value. LIMBO doesn't really do that. You play the game once, likely in a single sitting, and that's basically it. If you decide to go for all the trophies in all their artificial replay glory, you're stuck having to master this game to the point where you can get through the entire thing in one sitting while dying 5 times or less. That delves into the territory of turning gaming from a hobby to a job, but more power to you if that's your thing.

What I'm getting at is that while LIMBO is a really good game, you can tell it could have been a great game. The atmosphere is outstanding. The puzzles and physics, while clunky, fit the mold of some kid lost in an infinite loop. It's one of those rare cases where realism actually helps a game's cause. But between the short length, the lack of things to do and the lack of actual replay value, you're left wanting a lot more and the game isn't really able to deliver.

Good to play once, if a bit expensive, and that's about it. Nothing else to really say because the game is too short and doesn't really leave you with much to say about it.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 11/04/11

Game Release: LIMBO (US, 07/19/11)


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