So once again it’s Friday and my deadline is about 24 hours from now. As is usual for me (especially as it’s so damn hot at the moment) I’ve set down with a nice cold beer to help encourage me though the next 1000 words or so, but as Fridays go, today is a very special one. It’s special because in about 4 hours from now the Opening Ceremony for the 2012 Olympics begins, thus marking the official opening of the Olympic Games, in my home country, the United Kingdom. Today is also a sad day because for the next 6 weeks I’m pretty much not going to able to turn the telly on. And I pay a lot of money every month for cable. That sucks! But it is good for you guys since it means I’ll have more time to play more games. I just have to get over my lack of motivation and writers block.
Anyway, enough doom and gloom. This week I played Limbo, and seeing as I have bugger all else to review, and the editorial I was going to write about the poor quality control of PC games being released to market just didn’t feel right, I’m scrambling to remember what I thought of Limbo so Editor Kenny doesn’t go looking for his Trans-Atlantic beating stick (aka his massive baseball bat and a plane ticket).
So here goes, Limbo is the story of a boy lost in a forest trying to discover what has happened to his sister, but to be honest I have a feeling the story is only there to satisfy the PR monkeys that were asking about it when the game first came out on XBOX Arcade. The game is basically a silhouetted, side scrolling, platform, puzzle game that has a maniacal and highly psychotic, sociopathic attitude towards killing you. How the main character could walk away from an experience like Limbo without proceeding via a nice, comfy padded cell is beyond me. Not only do you start in a frankly weird and creepy forest, but you’re also being followed by a spider as big as a house that has a penchant for stabbing small children. Then you have to take into account that you can’t swim, so water is a big, wet, drowny-type issue, and these are both hazards you have to overcome in the first 3 chapters.
These are not the only problems you have to overcome. There is a portion near the end of the game where other children actively try and kill you with bows and arrows, so in order to make this attack cease you have to… well… commit a very crushy, squishy mass murder, and it’s not like you get the choice either. It’s very much a case of kill or be killed.
The puzzles themselves are a mixture of obvious and easy all the way to “how the begeezus do I do that” hard. Some are even a little gross, for example, once you kill the giant, stabby spider you have remove one of its legs to use as a bridge, and then roll its body in to a pit of poisoned bamboo sticks. Or, as another example, there are a couple of Indiana Jones style sections, one is done in complete darkness, which might sound easy until I tell you that the world is rotating all the time so general movement and jumps have to be timed perfectly or the massive bolder that’s chasing you down gets its fill of bouncy, crushy death.
I loved Limbo. I loved the style, I loved the gameplay, I loved how I picked it up for a buck as part of the most recent humble bundle, and I loved how it was clever. It was clever with the puzzles and the challenges that you face, but, most of all, I loved that it was hard. A definite 5 out of 5 stars.
Limbo is currently available on Steam for £6.99 and also on XBOX Arcade and PSN.