Video Games

Backseat Game Review: Limbo

Limbo Title

As I mentioned in my recent Portal 2 Review, Rick and I have discovered that puzzle games (specifically puzzle platformers) make for especially good backseat games. If I want to take a chance and grab a controller I can usually do so without making too big a fool of myself, or I can just shout instructions at Rick from the comfort of the couch (which is how it usually goes). Also, in the case of Limbo and Portal 2, a play through time of aprx 10hrs ensures that we can finish the game in a few sittings without me getting too bored due to my gnat-like attention span.

Limbo, as most of you are probably already aware, is an über-stylish indie-game that became the darling of video game reviewers even before it’s Xbox Arcade release in July of last year. And for the most part the praise is well warranted. The silhouette style black and white art design is evocative and spooky in a way seldom seen in platformers and the physics puzzles range from clever to teeth-grindly, controller throwing infuriating. The gently sloping difficulty curve is actually a very good thing because the mental reward for the player increases as the difficulty does.

Limbo Jump

My only real complaint with the game is the rather abrupt ending. With all of the attention paid to the visual, audio and puzzle design, the rather pat “there, you’re all done” ending was decidedly underwhelming. Granted, I doubt developer Playdead had the resources to attempt the type of whimsical gift that Portal 2 bestowed upon those who completed the single-player campaign. However, despite the madeningly simple story (really, it’s more like a “premise” than a “story”), ending things so patly seems to do a disservice to the amount of hardship our little shadow puppet protagonist just endured. Then again, considering how many things Limbo gets right, complaining about the ending is tantamount to nitpicking.

4 Nekos 4 Nekos out of 5

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  • Reply
    September 9, 2011 at 10:48 am

    I absolutely loved every moment of this game. I also found myself strangely satisfied with the ending, because for them to say too much would have “coloured” the otherwise monochromatic theme of the game.

    And if you enjoy creepy atmosphere, here’s where you can listen to and purchase the soundtrack:

    • Reply
      September 10, 2011 at 9:31 am

      Awesome. Love that soundtrack.

      I think the other reason that I was underwhelmed by the ending was that we had shelved the game for a while and then picked it up again, not realizing we were literally 5 minutes from finishing the game all together. Not having the time to get reabsorbed into the atmosphere of the game, I’ll admit, must have made the ending all that more abrupt.

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