At first glance Limbo looks to be just another platformer exclusively on Xbox live, within minutes of playing that idea is shattered into a million pieces. There are many factors which set Limbo apart from its competitors, the most noticeable being the noir style black and white with stark contrast. The use of black, white, many shades of grey create an oppressive atmosphere which heightens the tension as you play through this eerily lifeless world. With no overt story telling to the game players are able to draw their own conclusions as they traverse the environment. The story at launch is that a young boy is travelling through limbo in search of his sister and that is all we are ever told. Another major factor that makes the game great are the puzzles. As you make your way through the various environments the challenges become increasingly difficult almost to the point of tearing your own hair out in frustration. The payoff after each completed puzzle is rewarding enough the game consistently teaches you the skills you’ll need to make it through the tougher challenges ahead of time. Most of the later puzzles require a combination of skill, timing, and some original thinking.
The mood itself is very tense and somewhat melancholy, with early portions of the game being more disturbing than later on. The game seemed to follow a two step pattern. The beginning of the game featured easier to solve challenges while presenting you with more disturbing or scary imagery while the latter half of the game focuses more on jaw crunching difficulty in the challenges to create the tense mood. The overall art style of the game, in my personal opinion, is one of the most beautiful and artistic games I have ever seen.
While there is no word on what Playdead Studios is working on next, I can only but hope a Limbo 2 is somewhere down the pipeline. While the game only lasted around six hours on first playthrough, it does have replay value in looking for the few hidden glowing orbs which are often off the beaten path, as well as an achievement requiring you play through the game in one session dying no more than five times through the whole thing. For 1200 Microsoft points, the game is definitely worth every digital penny.