Review: Limbo

Limbo is bleak, dark and downright creepy. You guide a small silhouette of a boy, with two glowing white eyes, through a monochromatic and grainy world. Moving along from left to right, the boy seamlessly enters stages that start in nature, through to tribal, and eventually wind up in the industrial age.

It’s a rather arty puzzle-platformer. And for a platformer it’s really rather gruesome. While trying to guide the small boy you’re bound to make a few mistakes along the way. I’m sorry to tell you this but that little boy is going to drown, be impaled by spikes, electrocuted, and crushed to death. These little death animations are rather prolonged. The ragdoll physics are shown working perfectly when the little boy’s arms and legs go limp.

That turn you off? Well you can turn on the gore filter if the above makes you feel a little queasy. It makes the game cut to a black screen just before the bad thing happens, but it’s still rather disturbing, leaving it up to your imagination to fill in the blanks.

Your only controls are jump and grab, much like LittleBigPlanet. There’s a lot of box pulling and gap jumping but it’s a lot more interesting than it sounds. The puzzles in Limbo are easy enough to get through, though you might get stuck on a few of them. Keep trying until you get mad enough to rage quit, and come back later to try again. That was my process. Don’t give up! The feeling of solving an elusive puzzle all by yourself is fantastic — like that feeling you get when you finish a tricky crossword, Sudoku, or algebraic equation — or whatever you kids get up to these days.

Throughout the whole game there’s no music apart from ambient background noise, so the sound effects stand out so much more. Especially the spider sequence which is awesomely freaky.

It’s a short but sweet experience. At 1200 Microsoft Points ($20 in real money), Limbo is on the high end of Xbox Live Arcade releases. But I can assure you it is well worth the purchase. And if you can tell me what the heck the ending is about, I’d very much like to know.

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