LIMBO Game Review
- An eerily beautiful world to explore.
- Brilliantly combines platforming sections with elegant physics puzzles.
- Varied challenges to beat and mechanics to master.
- Atmospheric as hell.
- The 'jump' gesture control takes a little getting used to.
As dark as it is beautiful, Limbo's mysterious and viscious world sucks you in and holds you captive.
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There's a recurring set piece in Limbo which involves a spider. You're making your way through the grey fog, plodding towards the next jump or physics puzzle, when a set of spindly legs hove into view behind you. You can't run especially fast, but the spider is in no hurry. A rising terror creeps up your back as you push forward, desperate to escape the advancing arachnid's hairy, stabbing limbs. If you don't think fast, a grisly death awaits you. You run. You jump. You hope.
You'll encounter a few of these heart-in-your-mouth moments during Limbo's three hour campaign. Most of the time, however, you'll be navigating rope swings, creaky mechanisms, water pits, and bear traps. In fact, though Limbo's visuals are stark and monochrome, the challenges it presents you with cover a fairly broad spectrum. One minute, you'll be clambering on top of boxes to leap over an approaching buzzsaw. The next, you'll be seeking out dangling worm creatures to devour the brain-controlling larvae that's just embedded itself in your skull.
It's grim stuff, a grimness which persists throughout the game. But while Limbo's tone is bleak and murderous, its elegant puzzles, striking visuals, and considered platforming sections are a delight. New mechanics are introduced without tutorials, forcing you to learn through experimentation. In fact, there is no text, menus or icons of any kind. This minimalist approach contributes to the sense of isolation and vulnerability you feel as you explore this dark and dangerous world.
Though lacking the joypad controls of the original console release, this iOS port handles well. To make your lost boy run, simply swipe left or right. Flicking upwards will make him jump, while holding the screen will allow him to grab hold of objects. Precision jumping is slightly trickier here than in the console versions, but for the most part, the game doesn't suffer from the absence of a joypad.
However, while its visuals are gorgeous and the platforming satisfying, it's Limbo's cruel playfulness that makes it a truly compelling journey, one which every iOS gamer would be wise to embark upon.