User Rating: 7 | LIMBO PC

Limbo is a highly rated indie puzzle platformer game with a distinctive black and white art style. It has a fairly creepy atmosphere, with the bleakness enhanced by the lack of music. There's no tutorial, but the controls are simple, you move, jump and can interact (pull/push and hit switches). It would have helped for the first part of the game to have prompts. There's a point where you can't jump high enough to grab the ledge, and you are expected to pull your boat out of the water and use that as a platform; but it is just not obvious.

I think it's a game of two halves. The first half you just bumble along, only progressing by trial and error, but in the second part, the game becomes fairer and throws more interesting physics based puzzles for you to overcome.

When you begin the game, you will be walking along unopposed, then you will suddenly die, because that long looking grass was actually spikes. The first half an hour is just constant deaths at each point a new concept is introduced. Even when you can see the danger, you often don't even get enough time to react to it.

There's a point where a boulder rolls down a hill at you, I reacted instantly as soon as I saw it and ran back the way I came from. Just as I got to the pit that I needed to jump over, the boulder had reached me. Even after retrying, I still failed. I only succeeded when I reacted before the visual and audio cues. The timing-windows for several parts throughout the game definitely need tweaking.

Another example was when I could see a trap above me. I decided to keep moving as fast as I could; the trap was triggered, the blades swung down and I died. The second time, I moved right until the trap was triggered, then quickly moved left then stopped; another blade swung down and killed me. I try again, this time, I keep moving left without stopping; the blade reaches its apex, then disconnects; which hits me and kills me. It's absolute infuriating at times.

There is a point in the game where these scenarios stop happening (or rarely happen) and you end up having to survey the area, then work out how you can progress using logic and physics. Some of these puzzles are very satisfying. I actually really enjoyed the second half; it's like they had a different game's designer at that point.

The plus side to failing is the brutal deaths. Being shredded apart by a saw-blade chops your character into pieces, and there's plenty more deaths to explore. When you die, the game quickly puts you back into action, and never far from where you died; there's plenty of check-points.

There's no narrative in the game. You just go through a forest, village and then an industrial area, only meeting a group of humans who are out to kill you. Who these people are, and what your character is doing in this scenario is never explained.

The visual design is black and white which creates an interesting atmosphere, but it can make visibility a bit awkward. There were a few occasions where I couldn't tell if something was a foreground or background object, or if it was something that would interact with my character. The audio design is also a bit bland. Sometimes the reliance on sound effects made the atmosphere seemed bleak which worked, but at certain points, I felt there should have been some music to enhance the atmosphere. When you are navigating the industrial area with not much more than the hum of the machinery; it just seems bland.

Limbo is a game of two halves; the first being frustrating and a great example of poor game's design. The second half is great though which basically makes it an average game. It's definitely massively overrated and I'm surprised so many people persisted with it through the first couple of hours.