Reviewed: August 2, 2011
Released: August 2, 2011
I loved Limbo when it debuted last year. It was arguably the best game in the entire Summer of Arcade line-up and ushered in a whole new era of indie-developed games that are still thriving today in various digital-download outlets. Even as I type this we are three games into this yearís Summer of Arcade and once again, indie games rule!|
We already reviewed the 360 version of this amazing game last year and I canít really improve on what was already covered. Now that the game has made its way to the PC I was curious to see if there were any improvements or enhancements to the game Ė not that any were needed. I jumped into this black and white world prepared to live the nightmare all over again and was pleasantly surprised to find that nothing had changed. When played with an Xbox 360 controller, the game is no different than what you may have already played last year.
Limbo is an adventure loaded with puzzles, both navigational and physics based, sometimes combining the two. You play an unnamed boy in search of his unnamed sister who must traverse all sorts of sinister environments, some natural, some manmade, and all of them quite deadly. What might look like a cute side-scrolling platformer reveals its true diabolical nature the first time a giant bear trap decapitates our wispy haired hero or a giant mechanical spider impales you through the chest.
Youíll face off against all sorts of deadly traps, giant spiders, angry savages, and even brain-sucking slugs that burrow into your skull and turn you into a one-directional zombie. But your worst enemy is Sir Isaac Newton; or more specifically, physics, as the forces of gravity (and anti-gravity), magnetism, momentum, weight, and balance all conspire against you. Even light and darkness become major factors in your quest to save your sister.
Limbo requires a bit of dexterity and a lot of thought. I daresay, I havenít had to think this much in a game since Portal 2. With levers and switches and boxes to move and elevators to ride and ropes and cables to swing on, there is a lot of precision required to navigate these levels and often, the only way to learn your way through is to dieÖand die often. Thankfully, the game has generous checkpoints and the PC version reloads almost instantly.
Getting through Limbo the first time is a 5+ hour experience. After that you can do it in half the time, but sooner or later you will want to search for those glowing eggs that not only earn you bragging rights, but Steam Achievements for each and every egg. Some of these are so incredibly hidden youíll need an FAQ just to learn their location and then a video guide on YouTube to figure out how to get them. Collecting these eggs can easily take longer than finishing the main game. The physics are spot-on perfection and the game controls great with a gamepad. I used my 360 controller and it was just like playing the Xbox version. The keyboard works well enough, but I found it a bit too twitchy for some of the more precise moves required in some puzzles. Better to stick with a gamepad for this one. While not as stark as the two-tone imagery of say, Frank Millerís Sin City, the contrasting art style is impressively original. The subtle details and animations really add to the overall realism of a little boy trapped in a crazy nightmare and the death animations are grisly. The game looks great and runs well on even a modest PC running just about any video card made in the last five years.
For being nearly non-existent the audio package is pure perfection. The absence of music for nearly the entire game adds to the creepy silence and suspense and really enhances the incredible array of sound effects, mostly environmental with sounds of nature and manmade mechanics. When the music does rise to the occasion, you know something special is about to happen.
Even a year after its triumphant release on the Xbox 360, Limbo remains at the top of a growing pyramid of indie games coming to console and PC. Iím sure some new game will eventually surpass its style and creativity someday, but for now, rest assured there is no better game to spend your $10 on this summer on Steam. Limbo will assault your senses and challenge your intellect with one of the best puzzle-adventure games Iíve ever played on any system.