Recommended price: $5-$10
Metacritic Score: 89
Completion Time: 3 hours
Buy If You Like: Giving charity to promising indie game designers.
I really do want to get across the idea that LIMBO is an amazing game; it did not get that 89 Metacritic score by accident. Indeed, when you crack open the fictional Dictionary of Game Design and flip to the concept “Less is More,” a picture of LIMBO will be sitting on the page… right underneath a picture of ICO. In fact, I could almost describe LIMBO as a darker, shorter 2D ICO minus the princess. Or perhaps a revisioned Out of the This World minus the laser gun.
That being said, there is the very real possibility that this review will take longer to write than it takes to complete the $9.99 game itself.
LIMBO is short. The same details that immerse you so completely into the world – absence of UI, seamless transition from one area to the next, non-disruptive death penalties – are the same details that unexpectedly slap you in the face once you suddenly realize you are reading the credits. I bought LIMBO off Steam and finished it in the same sitting. Three hours. And lest you assume I am some sort of speed-run platforming genius, one of the LIMBO achievements is completing the entire game with less than five deaths in a single sitting.
Is LIMBO groundbreaking? As much as a 2D puzzle platformer can be, yes. Is LIMBO worth experiencing? An unqualified yes. Is LIMBO a perfect example of games as art? Yes. All that being said, if you buy LIMBO for $9.99 there is no other way I can imagine the transaction being different than charity towards Playdead, the designers. In fact, Playdead used the profit from LIMBO to buy themselves back from investors. If that means we can see a LIMBO 2 someday, then fantastic! But you will not see me suggesting that the average player buy a three-hour game for $9.99. An Apple gaming app for $1.99 on the other hand…
Every ounce of LIMBO is amazing, and a lot better than many other games on the market… but you simply cannot sustain yourself on a spoonful of caviar.