First impressions: Limbo

Limbo Game

Today I will mostly be playing Limbo. I’m not much of a puzzle person, but this little indie title was so praised, I just had to snap it up in the Steam sale. It’s a 2D side-scrolling platform game, eschewing the familiar WSAD keyboard configuration for the moderately annoying arrows-and-CTRL set-up, and is most notable for its unique minimalist aesthetic.

There’s no intro or tutorial level. There’s not even any music – just quiet ambient sounds as you move your character along the titular purgatory. Working out what to do is pure trial-and-error – unlike the arguably similar Braid, you don’t get neatly bounced back from a wrong move, and instead meet instant grisly death. The puzzles aren’t that difficult, but it is frustrating if – like me – you’re a player who doesn’t much like dying.

I’ve got to be honest with you: even if it’s only two hours long, I’m unlikely to finish it, because “trial and death” is just anathema to my playing habits. I play games to relax, and instant death sets me on edge, leaving me more stressed and frustrated than when I sat down to play. It’s like the antiBejeweled.

Even so, I must recommend this game to everyone – even players like me – because it’s one of those games that really has to be experienced. It’s a beautiful, haunting little gem of a title and even though I’ve just b*tched about the penalty for failure, I’m being lured right back in to play some more.

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Note: I also tried the Xbox Arcade version – it definitely handles better with more intuitive controls. If you have a choice, go for the Xbox version.

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