Date: 04-09-2012 18:30
Author: Jesse Dietderich

PDC profile: Jesse

Hopefully, some of PDC's visitors have already heard of this PSN game called LIMBO. This indie developed puzzle-platformer surpassed 1 million sales back in November of 2011, and I'm here to tell you why.

Story w/o Words

One of the many beauties of this game, come from the fact that the developers didn't want to stick with "safe" or "common" choices in game design. It is pretty hard to find a current generation game that completely lacks any narrative, tutorial, or instructions. However, similar to older generation platforming games (eg. Super Mario Bros.), LIMBO is an easy game to pick up and play. Since there wasn't any story, it really allows the player to craft their own interpretation of the characters and their surroundings. My story was focused heavily on mystery, survival, and exploration. This is based solely off of the environment and mood the game conveys. I was in control of the silhouette of a frail little boy, running through a dreary forest that was completely stylized in shades of grey. The game's complete lack of color and ambient audio track provided a suspenseful peace, that always had you wondering exactly when something was going to go wrong, and there was plenty of horrific things in store for the game's protagonist.

Since there wasn't any tutorial, I literally learned how to play this game on my own. It was by trial and error, just like the good ol' days, back when I made Mario fall into a pit and he died. The games of yesteryear didn't need to tell me that killing Mario was bad, and neither did LIMBO. The game did not need to express the repercussions of failing to keep the little boy safe. The game started out with moving the boy to the right, running and running, until all the sudden he dies. This left me startled because of the abrupt quick end to the frail little life I was in control of. I did learn rather quick what my downfall was, and the game progressed in similar fashion throughout. Trial and error is the primary constant, while lucky timing also plays a secondary roll. The game plays like any normal platformer, where running, jumping, and climbing are the fairly classic tools that are used to traverse the stages. There are 7 different chapters that blend seamlessly together, with only a faint notification following an epic ending to a chapter. The final puzzles in each chapter always seem to be a culmination of all the individual obstacles merged into an intricately elaborate challenge. There was no sense of repetition, and I felt truly immersed in the game because of this technique of pinning each new chapter to the previous one.

While playing through the game, it became apparent that this game is not for everyone. Those who like puzzle platformers and unique art styles, will definitely find this game to be well worth the price to play. Others who dislike all that stuff will obviously find it hard to feel connected to LIMBO. Yet I stand by that this is a work of art, and as such, is going to be interpreted differently by each individual who plays it. The game developers knew what they wanted to create and did a fantastic job of achieving their goals. If I had to be disappointed with any part of this version of LIMBO, it would be the lack of extras. While the PSN version does included a hidden area, it definitely feels sub-par when compared with the other beautifully designed chapters. It still remains extremely hard for me to not award a perfect score, but I still feel that there is some room for improvement. I believe in the end I just wanted more game to play.

Concluding Took Forever
I am not referring to finishing the game. I have literally been writing this review for over half a year. I started playing this game when it was released the just after the month long PSN outage of 2011. I played it religiously for hours on end each night till I beat the game. Then, because I felt as if I had gotten pretty good at the game, I began to replay to collect the trophies and unlock the additional hidden area that is only available in the PSN copy of the game. After finishing the game multiple times, and getting to play the masochistic unlockable challenge area, I am still one trophy away from winning. However, I will likely never be able to play this game through in one sitting and keep my death count to 5. It is easily one of the hardest trophies and I would consider anyone who gets it one of the luckiest gamers in the world. Either way, this game has been a pleasure to play and difficult to do it justice when explaining my experience in mere words. LIMBO has won a PSN Player's Choice Indie Game award for 2012, and is definitely deserving of its accomplishment.

LIMBO is an award winning digital download from the developers at Playdead. I honestly lost track of the total hours that were put in over the last 6 months while this review was taking shape. A good estimate would be approximately 40 hours.

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