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Limbo 360 Review - -

Gameplay 9.0
Graphics 9.0
Sound 6.0
Value 7.0
Distributor: Microsoft
Review Date:
July 2010
Troy Mayes



If you weren't scared of giant killer spiders before then you sure as hell will be now.

Limbo is an Xbox Live Arcade Game from Playdead Studios. Itís an experience unlike anything else and itís all the better for it.

Limbo starts off with your character waking up in the black, white and grey forest of Limbo. There's no introductory cutscene, no narrator to tell you where you are and why your here. Only through reading the product description are you told that you are lost in limbo trying to find your sister. The game presents you with one option, venture forward. As you do you delve into the heart Limbo, which reveals itself as a side-scrolling puzzler with emphasis on the puzzler aspect. In Limbo there are also no levels you just keep on journeying till you reach your final goal. This also means there aren't any load screens and the game is better off for all the things it lacks. With no information about where you are, where you're going and how long it'll take you really feel stuck in limbo, lost as you struggle to find your way out. The lack of load screens gives you the feeling of being on a long journey, although the game doesn't feel overly long. In fact the game will take roughly four to six hours to complete depending on how stuck you get on the puzzles and for this reason its asking price is a bit steep at 1200 Microsoft Points.

The main focus of Limbo is the puzzles, which border on insane at times as you are given little if any indication how exactly you are meant to complete said puzzle. You really need to pay attention to the sounds around you and where your character may be looking to decipher the puzzles. The puzzles are varied and as youíd expect they get more challenging and devious as the game goes on. As you change from the forest setting to an industrial setting the puzzles generally become more intricate requiring quite a few small steps before you can progress. While the puzzles are hard they are doable and fill you with a real sense of accomplishment when you complete them, especially after you've died countless times.

And die you will as death is a recurring thing in Limbo. While its frequency and variation is disturbing, beartraps on swinging ropes...who comes up with that? Itís not overly gratuitous and acts more as a guide to say 'that was wrong don't try it again' and the game benefits from a good checkpoint system. Apart from traps there are also some enemies that will do their best to kill you like the above mentioned giant killer spiders and the not so nice children of Limbo who really donít like you moving in on their turf. The inclusion of enemies mean that not only do you have to worry about death from traps but you have to worry about death from enemies and even escaping enemies backthrough a trap meaning Limbo never has a dull moment.

Graphically Limbo is a gorgeous game that runs really smooth. Sections are well designed and the change from forest to industrial district make you feel like your accomplishing something in a game that has no levels. While the game uses black and white as a base they've done a remarkable job of making areas look and feel different. The colors also add to the atmosphere and sense of hopelessness that hangs over your journey, what with all the puzzles and death. The controls are responsive, which is to be expected when the game only uses two buttons. Still I noticed a few issues with running and then jumping in a section where you were wrapped in a spiderweb. The sound design was O.K but the sound when you died didnít really fit the tone of the game. It was a somewhat odd squishing sound. Also it was frustrating to no end to die by falling over in an inch of water. Seriously whatís up with that that? Similarly it was hard to work out what heights you could fall from and die/survive. Finally, the mind-control bug was a real pain and not necessary. The game would have been just as challenging without it. 

With Limboís gorgeous presentation and challenging puzzles its one of the best games on Xbox Live. The price is a bit steep and the sound leaves a bit to be desired at times but itís a riveting quest. Even though you are given very few details as far as plot is concerned you canít help but invest yourself in the plight of the young boy. For a challenging adventure, and some giant ass spiders, you canít look past Limbo.


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