3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A Gem of Modern Gaming,
This review is from: Limbo: Special Edition (PC/ Mac DVD) (Video Game)
Gaming today often has too much to it, complications, a lot of noise and a lot questions, sometimes simplicity serves better. And LIMBO is simple, very simple, perfectly effective. It essentially is a puzzle solving game in a 2D monochrome world where you play a boy going through this haunting world, dodging death and outwitting the numerous scenarios blocking your path. However the idea of this game is not so much its main selling point, rather the execution. Visually LIMBO is stunning in its simplicity, the lack of colorful distraction and the emphasis on shadow play and lack of full visualization is perfect for what the game is trying to do. The game is atmospheric, entrancing and truly other-worldly with its monochrome setting and eerie score which accompanies. As well as this the single-path way is in a way, far more entertaining that a multiple option / 3D work, it keeps the game going at a steady pace and means you are more enthralled and brought into the story than actually focusing on the fact its a game.
LIMBO's plot is very easy - there is none other than a basic premise, a boy is searching through this LIMBO world to find the fate of his sister, that's all we know. And in some cases we need know nothing else, all we have to show for all this is the boy, a silhouette with two white eyes which glance and blink with no exaggeration. Despite not seeing anything detailed on this boy we actually come to sympathize with him a lot more than hours devoted to characters on Skyrim could achieve - why? Is it because we don't know what this world is and that he's alone, is it those eyes, or is it the fact that unless you move carefully he dies in a multitude of ways, gruesome and / or haunting. The boys deaths (and without doubt you'll see plenty working through this) are grim, and it attaches you more to him with every chance you get to get the puzzle right on the next occasion.
The game also is a very dark piece, bordering on a demented artwork for what it shows us, the boy's deaths are, not nice to put it easily, its either a really haunting way to go such as drowning or falling, or the sharp objects get their way in a number of creative scenarios. However despite this though it is actually a relaxing experience with the music, the multiple shades of grey and the very basic controls, five in total and four of those are movement anyway. Its very much an escapist piece of work, able to take you into another place, making everything easier, and more dangerous.
LIMBO is a perfect combination of monochrome style, simplicity and puzzles, the only problem being its length, its too short but personally I find a short gem is better than a long failure, so take what you get here and you'll be thoroughly satisfied. LIMBO's only problems lie in the length and any frustration one may get from repetitive deaths - but it causes more good than bad and is far more of an encouragement than the failures in different puzzle games such as the Portal games (even though they are two of the best games in history they don't attach so well to the protagonist as LIMBO does).