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Review: Limbo – The Frighteningly Outstanding Platformer Comes to the Mac

Review: Limbo – The Frighteningly Outstanding Platformer Comes to the Mac

Uncertain of his sister’s fate, a boy enters Limbo. That’s the entire storyline in Limbo ($9.99 App Store Link), the disturbing yet amazing platformer from developer Playdead – but that’s what makes the game so unique and intuitive. And now Playdead has brought this great title to the Mac App Store!

Previously released on multiple platforms, Limbo has been one of the most acclaimed platform puzzle games, and for good reason. There’s nothing I don’t like about the game. As soon as you start the game you’re in a dark, dreary world. With no cut scenes or dialog, you start your adventure not knowing where you are or how you got there. At first, the world you’re in seems pleasant and relaxing, until you move on and encounter different traps, creatures, and enemies.

Gameplay

The gameplay in Limbo is very impressive. It doesn’t disappoint one bit. From the start of the game, I didn’t want to stop playing. I kept telling myself, “just a few more minutes”. When a game can keep you sucked in and attached that well, you know you have a winner.

When you first start the game there’s no tutorial of any kind,  no text, or a help menu. I was trying to figure out the controls, which are as simple as can be. As you progress through the beginning of the game, you might think it’s not too different from other platform puzzle games until you encounter enemies and traps. Then you realize that Limbo is a stunning game, and in more ways than one. You can interact with almost everything in the environment in one way or another.

Traps can be either a friend or a foe. They’ll kill you, but you can also use them to defeat enemies, such as in the beginning of the game. What’s really dark, yet creative, is the number of ways your character can die. You have to carefully watch out for everything in the environment, yet be on alert for enemies at the same time. Some of the puzzles in Limbo can be difficult at first. They take some thought to get through, but as you progress further into the game, you’ll get the hang of it and the puzzles will eventually be easier to master.

Graphics

Limbo has some of the most simple yet beautiful graphics I’ve seen in a platformer. It is pretty much black and white, but the shadows, textures, and lighting all stick out and blend really well. As soon as the game starts, you’re submerged into a grainy, dark world. Even the boy has relatively little detail – he’s really just a silhouette with two bright eyes.

The art direction is so simple and it works well. You would probably think a platform puzzle game would need to be more colorful, and have more detail and textures to give the user subtle hints as to how to solve certain puzzles, but the game is designed so beautifully and is so eye-catching that the art style doesn’t disappoint at all.

Sound

The sound in Limbo is precise and spot on. There isn’t any background music, cut scenes, or voiceovers. They aren’t needed though, which is part of what makes the game so great. The sound design helps you throughout the game as far as how to make your way through and solve puzzles. For instance, you have to listen for small hints in the environment and your surroundings to solve the puzzles and advance through the game. Sometimes if you listen carefully and pay close attention, you have a feeling what’s about to happen, such as the platform you’re standing on is about to fall or a boulder is going to come swinging by you. Most of the sounds in the game bring a creepy, dark feel to Limbo, which works really well with the gameplay and graphics to keep you hooked from start to finish.

Verdict 

Limbo is an amazing game and a fresh change of pace from other platform games. Everything from the gameplay, graphics, and sound to the simple controls make this game one of the best platformers of the year. The only gripe I have with Limbo is that it’s only 5 to 6 hours long, which is disappointing in the sense that it’s such a good game that it’s disheartening to see it end only because you want to keep playing.

Luckily there’s replay value in Limbo, because you can find different items, which make it worthwhile to go back through and seek them out. For me at least, I found very few items along the way the first time through. Limbo is a great game that goes above and beyond where any platform game on the app store has been.  If you haven’t played Limbo yet, I recommend you go check it out.

Price: $9.99 (App Store Link)

Rating: 5/5[rating:5]

Pros

  • Great graphics
  • Challenging puzzles and gameplay
  • Sound design stands out really well

Cons

  • Only 5 to 6 hours of gameplay, which is a little short

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