The general gaming experience is usually made from a wide range of mechanisms, mainly visuals; sound, attentive gameplay for the player The perfect example of this, is the new game Limbo. Limbo uses these methods equally and astoundingly, creating something wonderfully simplistic with beautiful observation.
With absolutely no dialogue, no justification and no rules it manages to commune a connection to the player better than most games. It’s a simple 2D black-and-white platformer, which takes away all the fuss, and fancy usually found in other games of this type and replaces it with minimalism and challenge.
…disturbing yet picturesque…
The basis of Limbo is the control of a young boy who wakes up alone in a forest with absolutely no suggestion of who he is, how he got there, or where he’s going, only the knowledge of his lost sister gives him some basic guidance. You control this little lost boy as he explores the curious and bizarre environment, full of puzzles which gradually becomes trickier by each scene. It is soon clear that this beautifully made location is a dangerous, dark place. Limbo drags the player in, sweeping you away into a disturbing yet picturesque world. From beginning to end, the game refuses to stop surprising, enchanting, and alarming the player.
The only issue I think some might have with this game, is that there isn’t much natural life forms. The first part of the game includes creatures and bizarre ‘unknown’ entities, some of which you believe to be other children but as the story unfolds and you continue on to the other puzzles areas that soon become almost deserted and leave you totally alone. However, this is compensated for by the amazingly intriguing, clever and sometimes complicated puzzles you must work out through in every scene.
…the climax of this game is just so unexpected, leaving you wanting more.
Playing this game, and it is one of my favourites by a long shot, gave me such satisfaction that I was kind of hoping that the fact it was called ‘Limbo’ meant it would go on forever, but the build up to the climax of this game is just so unexpected, leaving you wanting more.
I like the fact that though this game doesn’t have much of a general plot and you do die, a lot… it avoids being annoying, frustrating and generally aggravating when you are desperately trying to succeed, like a lot of games I know and are familiar with. It is clear the developers of Limbo want to shock you with the most unusual deaths that could be fashioned, and you’ll frequently come across certain obstacles that will kill you immediately in amazingly gruesome ways. Except after your amazingly gruesome death you’ll restart right before the trap giving you a better chance to figure out how to finally conquer it.
Limbo is very clever, challenging and mesmerizing, and if you haven’t yet played it you absolutely must. Out of all of the games I have played this year, Limbo is the one that sticks in my mind. It’s modestly made and gets better and better as you move on. Definitely a game not to miss this year.
Images courtesy of Limbo