LIMBO - Xbox One

Release Date:

05 December 2014

Viewing UK:

Also on USA.
8.6

Summary:

Limbo captures the essence of the 'in between' in a way that we weren’t sure we would be able to contextualize. The game begins as if you had woken in a dream, or the moment after your own death. You are in a lonely, desolate, world of black and white and shades of different grays. Nothing makes sense here, not at a first glance. This is the kind of place where your voice would echo briefly before dying, suffocated by the soft glow that surrounds you. So with nothing better to do, and nobody to talk to, you march forward.

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Posted:
2015-07-19

Jamie_Hall

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Xbox One

8.6

Limbo on the Xbox One is a 2D sidescroller puzzle-platformer style video game, the first title by independent game developer Playdead, this game was released on 5th December 2014.

There are games that come along and sort of define a period in time. A few years ago that game was Limbo. Limbo came along out of nowhere to sort of change how we view video games in the traditional sense, originally released on the Xbox Live Arcade. Using sparse color, minimal sound, and haunting shading - Limbo was able to be a transformative experience while standing on its own merits. The fact that this indie game came along to such great success is something to be admired, and definitely not left alone. So it should come as no surprise that the cult hit has made its way into the next generation of consoles. Limbo gives gamers a new helping of the same great gameplay. For those of us who lacked either the option or the idea to play Limbo on the PC, the Xbox One performance is wonderful as well.

The very concept of limbo, not the game, is slightly frightening -- A place where everything hangs in balance, a foot that hasn’t hit the ground quite yet. Limbo is a place where little children can wander aimlessly through a dark and mysterious world, not quite ready to move on but sure as heck not wanting to stay. The concept definitely has religious undertones but it has been co-opted by pop culture to great effect such as in films like Inception or games like, you guessed it, Limbo. While Limbo’s 'in betweeni world doesn’t fit any pre-existing definitions of the word, we found it to be strangely appropriate in a dark and wonderful way.

Limbo captures the essence of the 'in between' in a way that we weren’t sure we would be able to contextualize. The game begins as if you had woken in a dream, or the moment after your own death. You are in a lonely, desolate, world of black and white and shades of different grays. Nothing makes sense here, not at a first glance. This is the kind of place where your voice would echo briefly before dying, suffocated by the soft glow that surrounds you. So with nothing better to do, and nobody to talk to, you march forward. This is a platformer at heart and the game mechanics are wonderfully simple. This was definitely a design choice as it allows gamers to focus more on what they are experiencing than how exactly they have to move in order to experience it.

In true platformer fashion your job is to move right of screen while avoiding obstacles and navigating uncertainly designed levels. You are alone but you don’t feel like it. In fact, there always seems to be that feeling you are being watched - like something is living and breathing and existing just to the right of the current frame. This is definitely a feeling that was designed in the game and we aren’t sure what exactly points to it, perhaps it is an amalgamation of many different art decisions.

So while you wander this world you will notice that certain things illuminate but others do not. This contrast, using brightness instead of color, creates an insane amount of depth. Traversing over a hotel sign only to see one letter suddenly light up and spark is almost magical, but it would be completely normal and forgettable in any other game. Our tiny little hero, the children who Was, has a pair of white eyes to distinguish himself from the rest of his silhouette. He runs, walks, and stumbles around like a child without caution and that goes so sharply against how dangerous this world really is.

Limbo shouldn’t be about death. Limbo should be about the period afterward. But this isn’t your conventional limbo. In this game death is always right around the corner. The world of Limbo is one of hostility. Not only does your loneliness weigh on you, as well as the surrounding sense of mystery, but there are creatures that go bump in the night. There are giant spiders that would descend upon you and devour you in horrific fashion. There are traps laid by other visitors before you. Claw traps will close on you up to your neck, decapitating you in an instant. When the spiders catch up to you, and they will - you are only a child after all, they pierce you with one long leg and impale you upon it. You dangle lifelessly for a moment before going still and being kicked back to your latest save point. That’s what Limbo is. It is a shocking place of death where death is treated as common place. In many forms of media, and handled by many other developers, the very act of killing a child in a game would be traumatic and probably frowned upon. However PLAYDEAD has made the decision integral to the core of the game and there is no controversy.

So what do you do when death comes for you in Limbo? You die. Limbo isn’t about winning a fight, it is about setting yourself up to never be in one to begin with. Traps are everywhere and you have to avoid them. You have to be spatially aware. You have to carefully navigate the different puzzle sections of the game, making sure to use trial and error to as great an effect as possible. Most of all you have to be prepared to fail, because you will and that is part of Limbo.

For the Xbox One this game is about as unique as it gets. Almost an artistic presentation more than a game, Limbo looks simply superb as it is upscaled for our big screen televisions. Navigating the game with the XB1 controller is completely natural, as it should be, due to the fact that platformers play superbly with a controller in hand.

When we finally put down our Xbox controller we couldn’t help but feel satisfied by what we saw. Limbo was a carefully orchestrated experience and one that will linger with us.

Submitted by Cheat Title Rating
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Jun 20, 2015
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Release Date:

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