Limbo is the first of five games under Microsoft’s third annual “Summer of Arcade” Xbox Live Arcade releases, and it’s definitely the one that stands out from the rest. All of the other games seem to be based on an established franchise or gameplay style with a heavy multiplayer focus, while Limbo is a single-player-only puzzle platformer that lacks the replay value of the other titles. But what it lacks in replay value it more than makes up for in style.
Limbo’s visuals are quite incredible. It goes for a very specific style, but it works, leaving you with a constant sense of dread as you make your way through this sinister world. You never know what to expect, as certain things can easily blend into the background (such as bear traps very early on) that will kill you instantly (and in a rather gruesome fashion).
The gameplay is rather basic, as are the controls, but don’t let the simplicity fool you. You can jump and you can grab objects, but there is a wide variety of different puzzles and terrifying situations to get yourself through that you will shortly forget the simplicity of everything.
It won’t take long before you think you have seen everything Limbo has to offer, but it will quite often changes things up on you, especially once you near the final chapters of this adventure. This game is also surprisingly tense, with several moments that require almost precise reaction time. Thankfully the game is very forgiving with checkpoints, as you will most likely find yourself repeating some of the same sections many times.
As a whole, there isn’t much to Limbo but a fairly modest three hour long adventure, but the game definitely lives up to its lofty ambitions and delivers one of the best gaming experiences of the year. If you own an Xbox 360, you owe it to yourself to at least try out the game’s trial for a very small taste of what to expect. There is no other game out there like it, and it is not one you will easily forget.
Pros: Excellent style and atmosphere; very well-designed puzzles with plenty of variety
Cons: Game may be too short for some players