Limbo: Under the Radar review

March 2, 2013

Sometimes, while not purposely, great games get overlooked because so many games come out week after week, month after month. With our busy schedules, it's nearly impossible to keep up with all of these great games. Under the Radar reviews highlight some of the virtual gems that many people may have missed out on experiencing.

Developer: PlayDead
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios (XBLA only), PlayDead
Genre: Puzzle-platformer
Number of Players: 1
ESRB: T for Teen; Animated Blood, Violence
Reviewed on: PlayStation 3 (PSN)
Also available on: Xbox 360 (XBLA), PC, Mac, Linux, OnLive

It’s pretty safe to say that you have never seen another game quite like Limbo.You play as a silhouette of a boy with bright white glowing eyes. You don’t know who he is, what he is doing, or why he is stuck in this grayscale world. You just know that you have to move forward. Limbo is much like thatgamecompany’s “Journey” in that there is no dialogue, little to no text or hints, and no clue about who you are or why you ended up where you are. These kinds of games are my favorites.

To be honest, I don’t know why I’m so fascinated with games that don’t give you any hints or background information on the character. Back in the days of the NES, most games were the same way.

Think of Super Mario Bros., a game most everyone is familiar with: you were thrown into the Mushroom Kingdom (even though you didn’t know its name) with no clue what you were supposed to do. You just knew you had to move forward and kill those turtle-like things and those little brown guys with the angry eyes. You didn’t even know until the end of World 1 that you were trying to save a princess.

While video games have really evolved over the years, with realistic graphics and stories playing out like films, there is something really special about games that expand on the original model of video games: throw the player into an unknown world and give him or her no directions. Let the player figure out what to do. It requires more brainpower.

That is what makes Limbo so great. Some of the puzzles are very challenging, and require some serious thought as to how to complete them. This game requires skill, and lots of patience.

People who say video games aren’t art obviously haven’t played Limbo. This game is a pure work of art; there is no getting around it. From the soundtrack, to the visuals, to the intricate puzzles, Limbo is like an interactive painting.

The soundtrack could not be more perfect. It’s simplistic, but that’s all it needs to be. It is best to play Limbo with a headset on, because the sound really adds to the overall feel of the game.

The game isn’t “scary” per say; “eerie” is more of an appropriate word. Some moments are intense, such as (minor spoiler) one moment towards the beginning of the game where you are being chased by a giant spider.

You will die many, many times in Limbo. However, dying isn’t nearly as frustrating as it is in some other games. You don’t have a limited number of lives and checkpoints are pretty frequent, so that takes a lot of unneeded frustration out of the experience.

I find myself coming back to Limbo time and time again. It’s timeless, as all great games are. It’s just the right length; if it were any longer it would become monotonous. The replay value is high, because there are bunches of cool little collectibles to search for. I just get this extraordinary feeling while playing Limbo, as if I’m playing something really, really special.

If you have $15 to spare, get ready to experience one of the most special games ever created.

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