Review – Limbo (PSN)

Limbo was released last year to accolades from multiple gaming sites, and was even crowned Downloadable of the Year by one. PlayStation 3 owners were left waiting, and the wait is finally over. Is a year old game worth the price, or should it be left in the dark? Read our review to find out.

In a gaming world packed full of shooters, over the top killing, and unrelenting gun violence, comes Playdead Studio’s Limbo. A creepy and quirky game that doesn’t involve firearms, a cover system, or frags. No multiplayer, co-op, or team death match to work through, just level after level of dark and shadowy environments with platforming and puzzles that will test your skills, and brain power.

Video games are first and foremost, art. What you see and hear comes before what you play, and what you see and hear sets the tone for the game. What you’ll see in Limbo is a dark world, somewhere between life and death, void of color, with little to no light at times. What you’ll hear is a soundtrack that is as dark as the environment around you. The soundtrack is all original and can be downloaded via iTunes.The music fits the game perfectly. The sounds are crisp, and are a key element to game play at times. Walking in the dark, listening for the sound of a saw blade waiting to slice you into many pieces, can be a chilling experience.

In Game Teaser

Gameplay for Limbo  is trial and error, or better yet try and die, and you will die many times over. Many, many, many times over. You play as a young kid, but there is no back story, and you”ll have to discern the childs age for yourself. We think he’s probably 12ish. Most pre-teens are apt to get into trouble, and this kid is no different. Checkpoints are close enough together so that you can work out most puzzles one at a time, and dying isn’t too frustrating since you only have that one puzzle to work through before moving on.

The most chilling aspect of the game has to be the many ways the poor kid’s life is ended. Bear traps close on him and slice him in half, or take off his head. One second he is sliding down a zipline, only to be thrown off and onto a spike when you least expect it. Saw blades can come from above, below, or beside him, and one wrong move and it will end badly. Keep in mind these are shadowy deaths, so your imagination can, and will, fill in the blanks. Parts of the kid will go flying, and it’s up to you to decide if that was his arm, or a part of his small intestine.

Level design is well thought out. The puzzles can really be mind bottling at times, and are almost always unforgiving. Key aspects of some puzzles are the sounds of the game. Footfalls can go from earthy, to water, to metal, and each sound change may signify that something needs to be done by you in order to survive and move on. Early on in the game, you’ll encounter a few other characters, but for the most part you are alone and on your own.

Why did the PlayStation 3 community have to wait an entire year to play this on their console? A great game like this deserves to be shared with all platforms. PS3 owners were given a secret level that wasn’t available for Xbox and PC gamers. This level is probably the hardest in the game, and that’s saying a lot. It is a well thought out level that requires patience, a keen ear, and great timing. A flashlight would have helped as well.

Playdead Studios has created a unique game that, while being dark and creepy, is still very enjoyable and worthy of all of the awards and accolades it received upon its initial release. This game belongs in your PS3 library.