“Simplicity is the key to design“. Limbo is a testament to this statement.

When an individual talks about “good graphics” and “good design” in a game, gamers alike usually think of highly detailed 3D characters, animations, and dynamic and complex worlds for players to explore. For instance, a lot of work and research have been intrinsically tied towards game development for popular games such as Call of Duty, and the most recent Uncharted release — these games altogether truly push the limits of gaming and are a big reason why these games fascinate players.

But then, sometimes, amidst these hardcore games you stumble upon a small gem. Sometimes the simplest ideas are the easiest to execute masterfully, and Limbo did just that. You are left stunned with the realization that how some simple effects, dynamic colors and lighting, and subtle background ambience could produce such an atmosphere that truly consumes the player.

You play as a little boy, who sadly lost his sister and searches for her. For that reason, you fight through a dark, unknown, mysterious and obnoxious world and solve puzzles to progress. These puzzles, of course, get progressively more difficult. The story itself is probably not as exciting — but it needn’t be. You see, by no means is Limbo a breakthrough in storyline, that’s what Limbo is about. Limbo had set its standards to be as lowest as possible, allowing the game developers to fully master and perfect the game.

The atmosphere and tone of the environment of Limbo’s world are solely constructed via the visual and audible design of the game. Not a single word is spoken throughout the entire game, and its Contre-Jour lighting effect allows the player to explore the mysterious world while questioning what these subtleties convey. Controls are simple. Colors are simple — black and white. There’s no background music, just ambience and spheric sonic layers, with natural sounds in the background that complement each other and intertwine in such a way that creates a mysterious, moody atmosphere for the player to slowly explore. It’s simple, Limbo was never intended to be complex, yet it manages to scare the player with these unsettling sounds. Perhaps it is this simplicity that drives the player to question the mysteries of the Limbo forest, seeing every subtlety as a potential clue.

Ultimately, I believe Limbo is the best game I have played so far. The puzzles are extremely intriguing, and in terms of atmospheric design it simply excels and rivals other competitors. It is dynamic in a way that is so subtle, that truly drives the player to continue playing. The ending (without any spoilers), also allows the player to truly question the purpose of this game. For me, after playing this game I directly went on google to look for commentaries discussing the ending of the story, and the subtleties that are revealed throughout the plot.

Finally, I give this game a 10/10. It is truly a perfect game in its genre.


~ by 11leec2 on March 10, 2012.

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