Limbo (PC Port)

0 Comments 12 August 2011

Limbo is not fun. The word ‘fun’ invokes a sense of happiness. What Limbo is, though, is a fantastically atmospheric, dark and confusing masterpiece – it’s incomparable to anything else on the market.

The game has one of the most interesting and arresting visual styles I’ve ever seen, as you can gather from the screenshots below. Not a word is spoken throughout the entire game. You play as a small boy (initially) lost in a dark forest. There isn’t a single cutscene, nor hints towards the story. Not until the end of the game do you even get a hint as to what it’s all about – a bold move by the developers, but one which certainly pays off.

Throughout the game you solve various puzzles, and even do some ‘fighting’ (although they’re really just more puzzles). These puzzles can be the scariest part of the game. Failure in most of them will result in the death of the boy, often in a horrifying way. Games such as Mortal Kombat or God of War rely on copious amounts of blood and gore to shock players, but Limbo’s deaths are the most effective, possibly because of the lack of blood. You may meet your end via saw blades, spike pits, poison darts or crushing, always in silhouette. But the most terrifying part of the game is the spider.

You are introduced to the giant spider near the beginning, and will most likely be speared by it. Limbo revels in messing with gaming conventions the moment you launch it. A few seconds into the game you come across a steep drop, and because gamers are so used to games holding their hands, they’ll jump. Guess what? Dead. But the spider – it’s petrifying. It chases you slowly, moving with long, spindly legs that will spear you instantly, given the chance.

The original game came out on the Xbox Live Arcade in 2010.  After its incredible success, developer Playdead eventually ported it to the Playstation Network and Steam. There are no major differences in the three versions, although the PC version is the smoothest, running at 60 frames per second as opposed to the 30 of the console versions.

Limbo is a tour de force of what can be accomplished in gaming nowadays. Games like Black Ops might make millions of sales, but Limbo is more worthy of that kind of exposure. I challenge gamers out there to try something new and frightening. Who knows – you might even like it.

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