Platform: Xbox One (PS4, PC, Switch)
Playdead has done a fantastic attempt of using visuals, sound and gameplay to create a narrative that tells of a young boy who wakes up in a mysterious forest on the search for someone who seems to be his sister. The game starts off in a forest as the young boy wakes up without any clue of how he got there. Limbo lacks any direct narrative through dialogue and cut scenes but instead provides a smooth transition throughout the different chapters. This allows the player to get truly lost into the dark and twisted world, whilst also leaving the story completely open to interpretation.
Travelling further you are met with a number of advisories such as giant spiders, mind control parasites and a load of puzzles, which will frustrate the hell out of you. The game was described by the developers as “trial and death”, this is 100% the case. You WILL have to fail about 100 times before figuring out the puzzles. The worst part is the Xbox edition records your death count so show off to your all friends (just a friendly pointer).
At times, it really does feel like the game is fighting you but keep your ears open for the music, as this can help you solve puzzles. The minimalist approach to the music allows the background noise to be brought to the forefront. This gives the game an eerie feeling, which is apt for the situation the protagonist finds himself in.
Despite being one of the most challenging games I’ve played this year, the game does have some flaws. The game’s story seems to be kept to the beginning and end levels meaning the middle is just filled with puzzles and lacks any story sustenance. The characters and creatures you meet during the first several missions just seem to vanish until the last chapter. Extracting any emotions and narrative driven gameplay from the promising title, leaving an empty feeling to the game. One of the most heart ranching part of the game for me, when you see another child lost in the forest, as you approach she runs away, reminding you of the protagonist’s loneliness on his journey.
Overall Limbo is a challenging, frustrating but fun experience. Although a lot is taken away with the middle section lacking any emotional attachment to the game, which the beginning tends to do so well. Playdead has done a really good job telling a narrative with the lack of dialogue and cutscenes, really creating a story that can be left up to the player’s interpretation. This game has got me excited to play through Inside, Playdead’s second game and hopefully will get to see them at some future expos.
Thanks for reading,