Limbo

While I am supposed to be diligently (re)playing a few certain titles for my dissertation, unfortunately, the gaming world will not hold still for me, so I have been dabbling in other games for the sheer pleasure of it (I suppose this is necessary and related to some form of sanity maintenance or other…). After reading about the game Limbo in Edge Magazine a few months back, I was happy when I returned from my summer holiday and my husband had told me he had bought it on Xboxlive for me as a surprise.

First of all, the game is beautiful. Using every shade of grey, along a spectrum of sharp and muted variations that give the game world texture and depth. Stunning is the first word that comes to mind. In terms of the audio – I had read that the designers really did not want to use a soundtrack as such, feeling that music is often used to indicate to the player how they should be feeling at particular points in the game. While I welcome the odd, eerie, distant sounds that almost linger in the background – it really made me feel apprehensive. I could not read what was going to happen; if I would be attacked at any point, etc. The first time I died, I didn’t even realize that I was supposed to jump over a small spike-laden ravine. My little guy simply fell into the hole, was awkwardly impaled, and his limbs fell off. It was only then that I realized that I had to jump instead of run.

The controls are quite simple. Using only two buttons for all actions. Simplicity is good for the most part, but it does make game play a bit more challenging in that – especially in the beginning – I was not sure what I was supposed to do besides run and jump. I spent a good 10 minutes at the first bit where I thought I was supposed to jump up and climb a structure, when I was actually supposed to pull the handle of an old cart so that I could climb on that first. Once I figured it out, it was simple, but I never really thought of “pulling” when in my head I was only thinking “run” and “jump”…

I only played for about an hour or so so far (grrr to sharing the Xbox! lol). But so far I applaud the designers of the game for creating something that feels so on the edge of simple, yet pulls you in and holds on to you in a most (addictive?) way.

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