#1004 Limbo

Posted: 11th May 2017 by Jeroen in Games
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601st played so far

Genre: Platform/Puzzle
Platform: Various
Year of Release: 2010
Developer: Playdead
Publisher: Playdead

We begin the next hundred with another known indie game. Limbo is a platformer that gained a good reputation for its implicit storytelling and world it creates in a platformer setting. I never actually had a chacne to play it yet, and this blog is part of the reason I’ve held off for a while. Now is the time to actually try it.

Our Thoughts

We’ve seen several games before that used its environment for story telling – Bioshock comes to mind. Few use only that, and in that sense this is as much a spiritual successor to Another World and the like. In fact, it feels like platformers do this well. While Braid uses plenty of words, its core story even comes from its mechanics.

Now I’m not sure Limbo has (so far) told as explicit a story, but it certainly has a world to show to you. A lot of it is still ambiguous, open to interpretation, but there’s a feeling invoked by the world and people you meet that says more about what’s going on.

Even so, there’s more to the game than that. It’s been described as a trial and death system. You will die often while trying to solve a puzzle, but each time it will put you back right before the start of a puzzle (or group of ones, you will occasionally retrace some of your steps). This means death isn’t punishing, repeating them is just the means to an end, trying to figure out how to get there. This means that making it through without a death feels a lot more satisfying, but dying doesn’t matter too much – you don’t have to keep doing the same things over and over again. It’s quite liberating.

The puzzles themselves haven’t, so far, been punishingly complicated. Instead they require some thinking combined with some more difficult platforming sections that will require practice and timing to get right. I didn’t really get stumped because I didn’t get it, I mostly needed perseverance to get through the more timing critical sections. It really nicely combined the two genres in that sense.

Final Thoughts

Limbo is a game that looks good, equating a feeling about the world by leading you through it. It creates a setting where all the puzzles you encounter make sense, with plenty of callbacks (that poor yet evil spider). The good and fun puzzle design works well, as do the light failure conditions that encourage you to go in and try constantly