Overpriced Overhyped Demo
PlayStation 35.00
Overall 5.00
Like many people who played Limbo I was drawn to it due to its' unique somber black and white art style.  Black and white games are nothing new, but the smokey/fuzzy look combined with a minimalistic soundtrack give the game a macabre feel that's unlike anything I've played before. Unfortunately once the mood wears on you, and it likely will, you're left feeling depressed due to the subject matter, short length, and ultimately flawed style of gameplay.

Aside from the visuals, the game's most unique feature is its' style of gameplay. At its' core it's a puzzle game.  You have an obstacle blocking your progress, and it's up to you to change your environment by moving objects, flipping switches, and carefully timing your moves. What makes it unique though is that you don't really observe and figure out the puzzles. You die. You die over and over again, learning from you mistakes in order to solve the puzzles.  

Because of this you feel like you're enduring the puzzles rather than solving them. Analysis and observation rarely solve the puzzle on their own until you plunge in, make a mistake, and die. It's through this method that the game manages to inflate it's gameplay length.

At this point the game's short length shouldn't be news to anyone. Most reviewers have clocked it in at around 3 hours. The problem with that is the first play-thru (without a FAQ) may take 3 hours, but that's greatly extended due to repeatedly dying. There's only about 45 minutes of actual gameplay in here.

So what you're left with is a short game where you die lot with a great art style. As for that art style, even that may not hold you for too long. The first third of the game uses it very effectively with a forrest setting that is almost at times remiscent of Lord of the Flies. Without question this was the best part of the game. However as you progress the world of Limbo changes it eventually becomes a world of tunnels over and broken machines and tunnels and broken machines and tunnels and broken machines.... it gets repetitive. Sadly it's not even repetitive with its' most original settings.

At the end of the day or rather at the end of 3 hours since the game didn't take me a day to play, I can't recommend this game to anyone. Limbo feels like it would have been a great level within a full-length game, but on its own it feels like a demo at best. $15 on PSN or XBLA can find you a whole more game and lot more fun.
Posted by robio Sun, 24 Jul 2011 04:51:31
Mon, 25 Jul 2011 10:08:37
I was hoping to be pleasantly surprised.

So will the game critics love of anything artsy ever die?  I mean, at some point will they turn on the art over gameplay fetish?

Where were these people when Odin Sphere, Grim Grimoire and Muramasa came out?
Mon, 25 Jul 2011 12:05:21
It makes me wonder that even as short as it was, if many reviewers finished it. The beginning really is fantastic and it sets the game up to be something special. After a while though the puzzles all tend to be of the "move the box and flip the switches" variety. But if you play that first 30 to 60 minutes and you might be content it saying that the game is great.
Thu, 28 Jul 2011 04:20:51
I am so glad I didn't buy it.
Thu, 28 Jul 2011 15:25:11
I mostly disagree with your review.  While I was also disappointed as it wasn't all I expected, I felt there was enough good in the game to have been worth my time.  I didn't regret buying it and I enjoyed playing it.

Thought that apart from the impeccable art direction, most of the puzzles were at least solid and some very good.  There was also great variety in the puzzles.  My gaming time is very scarce so I value variety and quality much more than the artificial lengthening of a game by repetition.
Thu, 28 Jul 2011 15:28:16
It's not $15.  For that price you can buy a disc which apart from Limbo, includes Splosion Man and Trials HD
Thu, 28 Jul 2011 15:38:40
I'm surprised you say that since to me this game is the very definition of articifically lengthened. The core gameplay is built around the concept of it. You analyze the puzzles by jumping into them and dying, learning from the mistake, and then repeating that process until you've passed it. Simple observation isn't enough and you're forced to learn by dying and repating the process. That seems like artificially lengthening to me.
Thu, 28 Jul 2011 15:39:29
It is $15 on PSN. There are no bundles for it.
Thu, 28 Jul 2011 15:50:55
I was referring to this:


Looks like you can buy it for about $17 new from other sellers in the marketplace.

On what you say about the trial and error.  I hear you, but I felt that it was deliberate (you were meant to watch those deaths as part of your experience with the game).  And it didn't really lengthen the game at all since you continued instantly and from the same spot.  Was mostly referring to the crates and switches puzzles towards the final parts of the game.
Thu, 28 Jul 2011 16:01:01
No I know what you're talking about. I've seen it for sale. However as a non-360 owner that option isn't available. It's $15 or nothing for Playstation 3, so that's the only thing I can value it against.

Had it been bundled or available for around $5 I probably would have felt better about the game and reviewed it better, but I've gotten more gameplay out of free demos and had just as good of a time, so it was hard to not feel ripped off by Limbo.
Thu, 28 Jul 2011 16:09:31
Fair enough.  I think I got it when it was half price for a day on XBLA if I remember correctly.
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