Limbo: Terrifying and fun game that is just a little bit too difficult
Made by a tiny studio in Denmark called Playdead, Limbo came out of nowhere and became one of the most celebrated indie games of all time and propelled the studio to new heights. They didn't let us down on their follow-up release of Inside either - if anything that game is one of the most polished and perfect of all time.
I digress, this conversation is about the first one, and how it's simplicity is what makes it so amazing and how the difficulty in some parts almost scare people away from playing it.
I love side-scrolling platformers; I always have loved them all the way back to my first experiences with them on the NES. There is so much that can be done with these but today it seems as though it is pretty important that there is a fantastic story behind them... being beautiful isn't enough.
Limbo has a fantastic story and what is so amazing about the story is that it is never told to you. Other than the title and end credits there is literally NO TEXT ever put on the screen about what is going on in the game. It is up to you do define what is going on and that is a big part of what makes it so amazing.
At points it seems as though there is some sort of "Lord of the Flies" type thing going on when you encounter a group of also small children who seem to be dead set on preventing your progress and they will do whatever it takes including and especially killing you, in order to keep you from going any further. We also at this point have no idea why it is that our character actually needs to progress to the right constantly.
With the aid of very little music and only some very choice sound effects the dark and mysterious aspects of this dreary world that you find yourself in becomes even more terrifying with the addition of things from nightmares such as our pal above.
In Limbo, unless you have played it many many times you are going to die hundreds of times and herein lies another strength of this title: It reloads at each different scenario to give you another go very quickly. This was very important for me because long load times are a sure-fire way of getting me to walk away from a game for good. I simply can not tolerate them and have left great games in my rear-view mirror based on little more.
However, there are certain parts of the game that occur later on (as one would expect) that the game because in my opinion a bit too difficult. Even slight mis-timings on a jump result in immediate death and you have to start an entire puzzle over. I suppose I am being fickle here because some would argue that the follow-up game, Inside was far too easy. For me, the difficulty of a game doesn't make the game good and some of the pin point accuracy required to get past a puzzle was a bit tedious rather than fun. I suppose I did eventually get past all of them so maybe I should shuddup.
How perfect is that trailer? It does a good job of showing you many of the many many ways in which you can be dispatched in the rather gruesome death sequences that exist in this game.
These days Limbo can be picked up for free or near free almost anywhere (legally, it could always be acquired for free using "other" means) and if you have 0-5 dollars lying around I have a really hard time coming up with a better use for it than this, especially if you are a fan of artful side-scrolling platformers.