“Limbo” is a simple game, and all the more alluring for it. You play the role of a boy looking for his lost sister in a series of dark and ominous environments—an obscure forest and a solitary sailboat, for instance. Everything is rendered in black and white, shaded in a silhouette-like style. High definition enthusiasts will not be scared off by lack of graphic detail; more frightening is the mood of the art direction.
In fact, “Limbo” resurrects the age-old question, “Can video games be considered art?” I don’t know what else you would call something this sensually affecting.
Besides the few details mentioned above, the plot of the game mysteriously vague at first. The only task that will move you forward in the game is your instinct for survival and curiosity of your whereabouts. This is all you need really, as the game sets you in a 2D world (like Mario) in which you move from left to right. Thus, safety and story can be found along an appropriately linear path.
The controls are also straightforward: move, jump, and a context-sensitive “action” button that you will use to move large objects and solve puzzles. These actions, however basic in comparison to other button-combo action games, are entirely necessary, as there are brutal traps and savage life forms out to take your life. The main character may be a little boy, but this world holds no mercy. Failure in almost any puzzle will lead to a gory death.
And you should expect to die.Whether decapitated by a bear trap or skewered by spears, your character will bravely respawn at a nearby checkpoint. This “trial and error” element of the game will help you develop a sympathetic bond.
Which leads to the one great fault of the game: replay value. At fifteen dollars, this is a fairly pricey downloadable title. You will want to re-experience everything again, but the elements of the title will not be shuffled in any way.
Northwestern students may also have difficulty acquiring the title, as it requires an Internet connection to your Xbox 360.
But neither of these concerns should keep you from purchasing Limbo. It is rare for a big production video game to have half the style that this game has.