Limbo – Xbox Live Arcade – First Impressions

So, I finally get around to downloading Limbo – hailed as an arty XBLA classic. The game is steeped in style. Its grainy and black and white, with your character mainly being a silhouette and light sources being muffled and distant. There are many layers of out-of-focus parallax and murky things to get lost in. This is one spooky game. Play it in the dark with the volume up. Sound is used to great effect – music is used sparingly and you pay attention to the background ambient sounds – some of which are important for puzzle solving. This is essentially a puzzle platformer and you are a boy with glowing eyes who initially ventures off into a scary dark woods. Death lies around every turn. Gruesome death. Frequent death. And you have to solve the location puzzle (and occasionally some quick reflexes) to avoid it. This game is about basking in the atmosphere and really exploring and thinking about how to get past the next bit.

Its not for the squemish though – spoiler alert – giant arachnids and strung up corpses feature, you even have you utilise the corpses to make progress – which is all very disgusting but also done in a very matter-of-fact way. The game does present mysteries (no words, just in the visuals) that you want to uncover. Its a big ask at 1200 MS points but so far the game delivers. I’m halfway through, and though I don’t think its the masterpiece some are making it out to be – I’d give it a solid four stars out of five so far. Those who like Ico would do well to give it a go.

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