Thursday, July 22, 2010

Limbo, Limbo

My review of Limbo is up over at Paste. As reviews go, it's... different. I hadn't planned on writing something like that when I set out, but after finishing the game, it seemed like the only thing to do. As much as I wanted to talk about the game's art style (beautiful), audio (bloody brilliant), physics engine (impeccable), puzzle design (damn-near flawless) or length (around five perfectly polished hours), it felt like Limbo demanded something more in line with the darkly opaque experience it offers.

Ever since I started writing game reviews, I've thought a lot about what, exactly, they're supposed to be communicating. And while it varies from game to game, the best answer I've come up with is that each review should attempt to communicate and then reflect upon my experience playing the game.

But it's not often that a game comes along that both demands and allows a review to be a pure expression of experience and nothing more. Limbo is a game that must be played to be understood, so all I could do was try to offer an evocation of that experience.

But blah, blah reviewcakes. There is so much to say about the game, and I'm just dying for everyone to finish it so we can talk about it! I had a neat chat about it yesterday on IM with Denis Farr, and his interpretation was both different from my own and really interesting. He's been following the game for a little while, and I highly recommend reading his review over at GayGamer.

I also liked Edge's as-usual uncredited review, which points out just how darkly funny the game is. I'm not sure what this says about me, but I find that Limbo makes me laugh almost as much as DeathSpank does.

I have my own theories about what the game is trying to say (which I suppose are hinted at in my review), and I look forward to fleshing them out a bit further, either here or in various comment threads. I will say that even the scant information that Microsoft included with the game's XBLA packaging goes too far in its description. Just ask the game what it's about; it has no trouble speaking for itself.

The gentlemen from PlayDead were kind enough to send me some really cool concept art, which I thought I'd share after the break. Even though none of these specific shots are in the game itself, I feel they capture the essence of Limbo far more eloquently than I could.

blog comments powered by Disqus