Limbo

It’s a neat puzzle-platformer. I didn’t think it was a particularly revelatory experience. I didn’t like it nearly as much as I liked Braid.

I played the game under essentially ideal circumstances – in one sitting, at night, while it was raining. The presentation of the game is clearly its best element. The striking monochromatic visuals, and the mood that alternates between somber and menacing.

The best sequences both had to do with the nasty, terrifying giant spider. Slowly dismembering the first one, over the course of a few sequences, especially the way its movement animation changes as it loses legs, is a delight. But the part I loved, and that I will forever associate this game with, is when the boy comes across what seems like a second spider, a replica of the first, blocking his path, threatening to impale him, and one of the eyeless boys waiting on the other side. When the boy finds his way around the leg, I realize that the eyeless boy was operating a lever that controlled the spider leg, and that, far from waiting for you to make your way to him, he was actually trying to kill you. I love this sort of implicit storytelling, even if the mystery of what the game is actually about is never really satisfactorily resolved.

The biggest problem I had, I think, is that the core platforming mechanics just weren’t all the interesting. Figuring out the timing to avoid traps and pits just isn’t as engaging as solving puzzles. To abuse a metaphor, the game does a good job with a limited vocabulary, but it just doesn’t have a lot to say.

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