In this week's "Games Worth Playing" article we will take a look at Limbo.
There are thousands of video games out there; some classics, some obscure, and others new to me and maybe new to you too. I’m going to take a little time to highlight what’s great about games that I love and want to share; games that are worth your time, along with some tips to get you started.
Limbo fit into the same sort of space Braid did for me, and on the surface, Limbo and Braid have a lot in common. But while Braid has heady themes, secretive and dense lore, colorful graphics, changing playstyle, and an amazing soundtrack; Limbo does none of that. It’s a stripped down, black and white, mostly music-less, experience where your abilities never change. It’s up to you as a player to work out puzzles that get trickier and involve more and more precise timing.
Limbo is a simple 2 D platformer sort of game; you could play a version of this in the 8-bit era as all you need is one button to move your character, one to jump, and one to push / pull things. That’s it. Limbo makes my list for a variety of reasons. Limbo isn’t really an easy game; the challenge is fair. When something goes wrong, it’s clearly your fault. Limbo isn’t a long game; you can beat it quickly in well under 5 hours even casually. Limbo is a great game to turn out all the lights and introduce someone who might be a non-gamer to games. Limbo is also not afraid to kill your character, a small boy, in increasingly gruesome ways.
All these pieces mesh together with an art style that strikes such a precise tone. The black and white aesthetic and evolution from nature to industrial settings is smooth and builds a little world for you to traverse. It’s so simple I don’t think Limbo really needs instruction, it’s just “keep going”. There isn’t one word of dialogue in the whole game, but it resonates. This game is 12 years old now, and I can still remember stepping onto my first bear trap. I think I understand the ending, maybe? Honestly, it doesn’t matter, the journey of Limbo is worth it; play it in the dark, and give it a shot.
1: For those of you who are achievement people, there is an easter egg right at the start of the game. Go to the left and you’ll walk into it.
2: Each bit of Limbo is a puzzle, and the puzzles are walled off from each other by spans of walking between them. Each puzzle is its own contained puzzle so you just need to think of them as being one-at-a-time sorts of challenges.
3: When you die and revive, your character starts where the puzzle starts, and that is itself a little bit of a hint.
4: The boy will reach out with his arms at objects, this means you probably should press and hold the grab button. The boy will often look at points of interest in the puzzle, so that can help guide you.