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LIMBO Review

Review; Mar. 6, 2012; Channels: Video Games; By Robert F. Ludwick
Dark environmental puzzle game is an excellent offering

High-quality puzzle games, such as the Portal series, are few and far between these days. In a market where the shooter tends to reign supreme, it is nice to come across an environmentally puzzling gem such as LIMBO. If you have not played this game yet, then you are definitely missing out.


LIMBO was originally released on Xbox Live Arcade in summer 2010 as an exclusive for Microsoft's console. After the game's exclusivity on the Xbox 360 ran its course, it was released on the PlayStation Network and PC via Steam the following summer. The Mac App Store also got a port of the game last December.

In LIMBO, you are a nameless boy who wakes up in a dark, mysterious world. You are in search of your missing sister, and you enter the world of LIMBO to discover what has happened to her. Along the way, you will have to manipulate your environment without getting killed along the way.

The two biggest components that really make LIMBO a great game are its environment and the puzzles themselves. These two components are very intertwined, as the environment itself must be utilized in the puzzle-solving process.

LIMBO Screenshots
Click the image to view game screenshots

The environment in LIMBO is, quite frankly, excellent. Eschewing the usage of colors, the game's display is entirely in grayscale. This approach works very well, as it conveys a feeling of melancholy as you traverse the monsters and traps that await you. Coupled with the dark visual setting is a dark musical score and sound effects. Rather than overload the player with visuals and audio, the game's approach is very minimal. The music is not intrusive and is very eerie.

The puzzles that LIMBO provides are varied in terms of mechanics and difficulty. Some puzzles involve pushing around boxes to gain access to different levels of terrain, or using ropes to swing across gaps too large to cross. Some even involve gravity switches -- you can imagine how that would turn things upside down.

Death plays a part in LIMBO. You will find yourself dying quite often, at least when you first start playing and when you first encounter certain traps. Many puzzles have traps integrated into them, so you must avoid doing something at a certain time or avoid a certain part of the environment. Buzz saws, giant spiders, and sharp spears are only some of the things you will come across.

LIMBO Screenshots
You are going to a very dark place, boy...

The game was first released for $15 on Xbox Live Arcade, and many thought this price point was too high for a game of LIMBO's length -- depending on the player's skill, a first play through can take only four or five hours.

The game's price and length are an excellent combination. The puzzles are varied and use the game mechanics differently in many different ways. A few more puzzles and traps here and there may not have hurt the game so much, but extending the game even an additional 30 percent would have taken away from the experience.

Unfortunately, I did not play LIMBO until just recently, despite the game being available for nearly two years. If you have not played it yet, then I highly recommend you do. If you are a fan of puzzle games, especially those incorporating the environment into the puzzles, then LIMBO is for you. Just watch out for giant spiders ... Yeck.


Review Score


Titles rated T (Teen) have content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older. Titles in this category may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling, and/or infrequent use of strong language.

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