Limbo is one of the most beautiful games I’ve ever played. You could pick any number of arty independent games to compare it to – Braid is the lazy, obvious one that I bet will turn up in countless reviews, but I think And Yet It Moves and Rorschach are closer to the mark – but take a moment to just look at it…
It’s gorgeous. Dark, bleak and atmospheric, feeding the sense of foreboding with the visuals as you’re never quite sure whether that movement at the edge of the screen is just smoke or the limb of a giant spider.
It’s a hard, almost impossible game to finish without dying, but that’s like a learning experience. It’s even more intrinsic to the gameplay than, say, Demon’s Souls; whereas that was an arse about it, it’s a joke in this game, which will gleefully trip you up and put you back a few steps with no penalty and the knowledge of how to bypass the next trap. The perfect example comes about a third of the way in, when what looks like a suspiciously obvious plunger beneath a large press – obviously that’s going to trigger it to drop and crush you, you’d think – turns out to be the safe spot as the innocuous-looking ground turns out to be what will kill you.
That’s funny to me, but what made me laugh out loud was that this mini-puzzle was immediately followed by an almost identical one, except on this one the plunger was the trigger, crushing you if you made the obvious assumption that both were set up the same. It’s emblematic of the dark humour that permeates every aspect of the game, from its visuals to its gameplay.
Limbo isn’t a long game, but it’s only a bit over a tenner, and I don’t have a problem paying that much for such a great, unique little experience. I highly recommend it because, like Braid, this sort of thing deserves support. A lot of love – and a bit of hate, quite possibly – went into this game.