The sound of a cable snapping, the whoosh of a bear trap on a string hurtling towards a young boy. A splatter, no chance of survival here. Limbo is a cruel game. The journey of a young boy through the edge of hell is a stark one fraught with peril, and make no mistake, you aren’t going to make it through Limbo without witnessing a gruesome death or two.
Limbo isn’t just about watching a small boy get massacred in a multitude of ways, there’s an actual gameplay here to sink your teeth into. The game is a puzzle platformer tried and true, with intelligently designed situations to really wrack your brain over. In true form, the solution is often the simplest one, and being true to myself, I spent quite some time on some puzzles, setting up elaborate chain reactions only to find that all I needed was to move a block. It’s almost infuriating, but the sense of accomplishment is second to none. Of course, not every puzzle in Limbo is well designed, with some timing problems leading to cheap deaths where I didn’t time my jump *just* right. The game sensibly provides frequent checkpoints, with each puzzle forming a chapter of the game, so you never need to retry a section after failing one bit. Each part is segmented to provide as little frustration as possible, which is certainly appreciated.
When talking about Limbo, the first thing that you often find comes to mind is the visuals. Make no mistake, Limbo is a stark, depressing looking place, with bodies hanging from rafters and a general sinister undertone to the environments that makes traversing them extremely tense, as you never know what you’re about to see around the corner. The sound design is similarly sparse, with occasional music serving to merely underline the squelches and moans you’ll hear. I really don’t want to hear the “child falling and hitting the ground” sound effect ever again. People might bring Limbo’s length against it, as a sort of value proposition, but I feel that the actual amount of time you spend with a game doesn’t necessarily have to reflect the amount you spent on it in the first place. It’s a relatively snappy romp at around 3 hours, but those 3 hours are packed full to bursting with puzzles and atmosphere, with little to no filler content to pad out the main quest.
Limbo is a wonderful game, filled with moments that you want to talk about with everybody, but don’t want to spoil for people who haven’t played it. It’s often horrific, sometimes soothing, but always fantastic. A trip to the edge of hell is about as enthralling as it sounds.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
What I Like:
- Stunning atmosphere
- Intelligent puzzles
What I Dislike:
- It's a little bit short