Retro Review: LIMBO Review – All Platforms

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LIMBO Logo
LIMBO Logo from PlayDead Studios

Originally posted on July 28th, 2010 on our older site http://www.world-gaming.com. To celebrate LIMBO’s 10 year anniversary, we thought it would be nice to revive this review. LIMBO still is an incredible game and is available on a variety of devices like Xbox, PlayStation, iOS and Android devices. Absolutely worth checking out this 2D platformer.

Limbo is a puzzle platformer developed by PlayDead Studios, an independent Danish developer.  Limbo was released for the Xbox Live Arcade on July 21st, 2010.  Limbo is PlayDead Studios’ first title.  

That’s the most generic description I can give of Limbo.  What exactly is Limbo?  I can tell you this: I don’t know except that it’s awesome.  

There are no cut-scenes or text to pass the story along, everything is up for interpretation.  In Limbo you awake as a little boy alone in the middle of a forest.  There is no direction of where to go or what to do, your purpose is unknown.  Controls are simple: left, right, jump, and action.  As the nameless little boy you run through the forest and come across various types of puzzles and/or entrapments that are part of the environment and never appear to be “placed.”  Along the way you will come across other characters which usually just run away from you once you are within striking distance although there are some that attack.  Why?  No explanation.  

What I absolutely loved about Limbo was that even though there was no stated purpose, I had to keep going and get to wherever I was going.  While the puzzles were challenging at times, I never felt overwhelmed or overly frustrated.  Some of these puzzles ended with me saying: “Oh right, Duh!” and smiling.  

I’ll be honest though, the game is creepy.  One specific example would be when you had to cross a specific body of water that had no ledges or anything to jump on.  At that point you see a person walking towards you and they walk right into the water and drown.  You can now cross that body of water since they are floating on the top.  Spiders, faceless enemies, and dark dense landscapes all add to the creepiness factor.   I read in another review a few days ago that you should play alone in the dark.  Turn off Xbox notifications and play.  The cinematography and soundtrack make Limbo truly creepy and very unsettling at times.  Keep in mind this is not a horror title, but this may not be suitable for everyone.

The soundtrack is far from noticeable except during intense times and makes your blood curdle just a little more.  While that’s not to say that the soundtrack is bad in any way, it’s just saying that it was perfectly done not to interfere in the normal gameplay and to get your pulse racing.  During these intense times, like when a giant spider is chasing you, the soundtrack will become more suspenseful.  

The colors of Limbo are just black and white but while the color pallet may be bland, the overall look and feel of the environment will drag any gamer in.  The lack of color and focus on shading is unique and done very well by the developer and adds to the immersiveness.  Limbo’s environment reminds me of a dream.  But not a good dream or a bad dream (nightmare) just one of those dreams when you wake up and say “WTF?” and throughout your day you remember bits and pieces and when put together, everything and nothing makes sense.  

Overall, I would recommend Limbo to anyone with an Xbox 360.  I don’t know how much replayability there is in Limbo yet.  While there are 12 achievements for a total of 200 points, I don’t know if I would play through Limbo over and over again.  Will I delete it?  Definitely not.  Will I play the more memorable chapters from time to time? Definitely!  I do know that I will continue to play until I finish all of the achievements and I can tell you that there are some that will create a decent challenge.  
I absolutely loved Limbo.  Problem is that the game is fantastic but will provide you with 5-6 hours of playtime but then if you decide to seek out the achievements perhaps another 1-2.  On top of that the story ends abruptly.  I won’t get into specifics so that I don’t ruin anything for anyone, but you are left in a lurch with no explanation.  Again even with that in mind I would recommend Limbo to anyone as it’s a fantastic independently developed game. 

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