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Available on

Xbox Live Arcade!

 

Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Platformer

 

Publisher

Playdead

 

Developer

Playdead

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

July 21, 2010

 

 

- Even with the lack of color, the beautiful artwork and design that incorporates only a black & white monochrome element, creates one of the best-looking games of the year
- Tremendously challenging physics-based gameplay with all its puzzles, especially in the latter stages, although it is rather brief and fleeting

 

 

- Gameplay loses its tension when it transitions from escaping pursuit, most notably from the scary giant spider, to simply being a puzzle-solving challenge
- Minimalist involvement in story (much of what’s really occurring seems left up to the gamer’s imagination) fails to connect gamers too emotionally with the main characters, namely the boy and his “lost soul” sister, although there’s a lot of emotional drama in the overall story – small boy searches for his lost sister, who may possibly be dead and stuck in “limbo”

 

 

Review: Blacklight: Tango Down (360)

Review: Snoopy Flying Ace (360)

Review: Alan Wake: The Signal (360)

 

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Limbo

Score: 9.0 / 10

 

limbo          limbo

 

The edge of “darkness,” a limbo between the brightness of day and the blackness of night, can be a scary place. Especially if it is, in fact, the actual limbo, the otherworldly place between the living and the dead, the intermediary waiting room between heaven and hell.

The imaginative Xbox Live Arcade title LIMBO explores what happens when someone in the land of the living goes searching for a presumably lost soul in the

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realm of the dead-in-waiting, as a young boy crosses into limbo looking for his may-be-dead missing young sister. This exceptional game incorporates classic side-scroller adventuring and challenging puzzle-solving gameplay with a minimalist story (that leaves the noir goings-on mostly up to the imagination of each individual gamer)

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traversing through a darkly beautiful, artistically intriguing black & white monochrome world that is one of the best-looking games of the year, and possibly the best XBLA title of 2010.

Using only black & white to color the LIMBO landscape plunges gamers in an instantly scary place. The beginning two levels have a high level of stressful gameplay, too, with our unnamed little-boy hero on the run from a monstrously large and deadly spider that chases him, all the while with the gamer required to make their way past deadly traps that can instantaneously bring a deathblow to the “missing persons” quest. Gamers must avoid the spider catching them while also avoiding the evil-intentioned individuals that are hell-bent on the hero’s demise just as aggressively as the pursuing spider.

 

limbo          limbo


Unfortunately, LIMBO’s gameplay loses its level of emotional tenseness that drives gamers frantically through the first few levels when it transitions from escaping pursuit, most notably from the scary giant spider, to simply being a “push/pull the crate” puzzle-solving challenge. And it definitely is a challenge throughout the entire LIMBO adventure, with physics-based solutions to many of the puzzles that require intelligent-thinking strategies. Latter puzzles can get very aggravating to decipher (particularly the magnetized blocks), which detracts from what can be considered both a great story but one that is so minimalist that it loses its emotional appeal until the depressingly haunting and abrupt ending. Yes, LIMBO ends much too soon, although gamers might want to LIMBO some more, going through the game a second time to accomplish the game’s many achievements that will take a second plunge into the dark to acquire.

There seems to be a little too much hype touting LIMBO as the best overall game of 2010. However, with gameplay that goes from stressfully tense to simply a puzzle-solving undertaking that never completely evolves into what should be an emotionally charged adventure that ends way too quickly, LIMBO has some minor detractions which switch the light off in its beacon as 2010’s possible overall “Game of the Year.” But LIMBO is easily among the best XBLA titles of the year that anybody who plays it won’t soon forget for its magnificent art design, tough puzzles and dismally sad story.

- Lee Cieniawa
lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(September 24, 2010)

 

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