Thursday, 11 April 2013

Playing LIMBO

This article contains some bad language, so avoid it if you don't like swearing. Otherwise you're fucked. Oops, sorry.

Having recently purchased the arcade game Limbo on Xbox 360 and almost completed it, I thought I'd write a little piece on my thoughts on the game and my experience with it.

Limbo is really weird. Like, no fucking joke; this game is weird as shit. 

When it started it did so very abruptly, not explaining a thing. It was only because of the short story description I read when I bought it that I knew what the hell it was about. Otherwise I'd have just thought you played as a little kid in a black and white land full of creepy beings and horrible contraptions.

The thing about Limbo is it lacks any emotion. No proper, emotional, music. No talking. Just the noise of the little boy's footsteps and environmental sounds. There is nothing that suggests what is happening is good or bad, really. The violence and creepiness of it is not condoned nor condemned. It's really odd.

It is also incredibly messed up. Like what the fuck? Why in God's name is a little boy being subject to these horrible trials? LEAVE HIM ALONE, HE'S JUST A CHILD. LEAVE HIM!

Early on in the game, shortly after it starts in fact, you are simply walking along and then crushed instantly and graphically by a bear trap. And given that I never saw ANY bears during my play-through, I highly doubt those were put there in order to catch the animal. 

Then you see dead, hanging people. Are these kids too? Are they even real (some of them look like dummies)? What the fuck is this?

The horrible spider creature that pursues you for some of the game is also incredibly creepy. I have really bad arachnophobia and that thing was fucking horrible. The entire game is filled with these scary and disturbing things and events and does not comment on them once. It's completely emotionless towards any of it.

Admittedly it is a blast to play. No denying it is a fantastic game, although I'm skeptical about the 1200 Microsoft Points price tag, given it isn't exactly full of tons of content and doesn't even take long to finish.

The thing that gets me about Limbo, aside from its lack of emotion and completely monotone and dry feeling, is its lack of explanation. Like I said earlier; when you start out you are simply taking control of a boy who's only defining feature is his small posture and glowing eyes and not given any direction or clue as to what the fuck he is doing or where he is going. Unless you do research about the game prior to playing it, you're screwed. That said, even when you do know the plot it is still a very enclosed experience. I felt like it was letting me view and experience only so much of what it had to offer and the rest was shut off, until I maybe 'gained its trust' more, or something weird like that.

Throughout the game I was trying to find some sort of meaning to it all. How did the boy get here? What was going on with his sister? Why is everything so dull and dry? What is the game trying to tell me? But I didn't really find any answers. If this game could talk, I imagine what it would say about itself is this:

"A boy goes into Limbo to find his sister and then shit happens and then it ends. The end. Goodbye. Goodnight."

In other words I imagine it would talk in a very short, bland way and get what it wanted, or needed to say over and done with quickly.

I like LIMBO, although it is a bit of a one play-through and you're done game. There isn't that much replay value here. If it's on sale I recommend it, but I can't say that it is worth its full price tag. 

I will be doing more articles on games I have been playing recently. Upcoming ones include Deadly Premonition and Dark Souls.

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