The 360 version of Limbo has been out for about a year and finally the PC version was released a couple of days ago. While I do own a 360 I never played Limbo until the PC version came out since I prefer playing games on PC. Available on Steam for 9.99$, 9.99€ or 6.99£ depending on where you live I do think they might be charging slightly too much for it considering the amount of play time you get, but it’s still a very high quality game that you should probably play at some point.
Just in case you didn’t know already Limbo is a side scrolling platformer. Visually it’s very distinctive with a dark monochrome look that very often tries to unsettle the player. The world you travel through is not a very nice place as you explore forests, factories and what looks like an abandoned city. Unless you read the description of the plot on the site you never learn anything about it from the game itself. You start by waking up and then run to the right until you reach your goal. I liked this very minimalist approach to the story as it fit well with the visuals. In general I also like it when the story is told by showing the audience and not telling them what’s going on.
It’s a pretty simple game since you only have a couple of buttons to use. With keyboard it’s the arrow keys to move and jump and ctrl for interacting with objects. If you play with the 360 controller you move with analogue stick and press A and B for jump and use. This simplicity and the puzzles you encounter is what made it feel like Portal. Like Portal it’s a short game at around 2-2.5 hours and just like the beloved Valve game the length feels just right for the experience you get. It keeps throwing new types of puzzles and challenges at you and is very varied. It never feels like it is repeating stuff to pad out the length of the game. The sound and music are well used as there are mostly just ambient sounds and the music only appears for more dramatic moments. It all adds up to a very coherent and solid experience that feels like it’s pretty much flawless in execution of what it’s trying to do.
I do have a couple of things to complain about though. Early on in the game the checkpoints are very well spaced out, so if you die you only have to replay a couple of seconds. Later on in the game the distance between the checkpoints grows and grows to the point where it felt tedious to me to have to redo the entire room when I killed myself with a crate by mistake. It might feel nitpicky, but since I had grown to expect tighter checkpoints it did annoy me when it wasn’t as tight anymore.
Another issue is that the PC version is a bit of a lazy port. Sure it works really well, but you can’t change resolution and even when you play it at 1920*1080 like I did the game itself is still rendered entirely at 1280*720. The game simply scales the entire game up to whatever resolution you’re playing at, so text looks blurry and in general the entire game has a blurry look to it. There’s not much text in the game, but it feels like a waste of potential I think. If they had actually made the game run at higher resolutions it might’ve looked fantastic on the PC. Now it “only” looks exactly like it does on the 360 and PS3.
Should you buy it then? Definitely! Worth it for what they’re charging? Well I do think at 2-2.5 hours some people might find it to be a bit short, but if you aren’t financially challenged I think it’s worth it. Comparing the cost to play time ratio with some massive 30+ hour game you bought on a sale makes it look like a rip off, but the cost of Limbo does fall in line with what you might pay for a movie ticket and given the quality of the game I’d say it’s well worth not going to watch whatever terrible summer blockbuster is on right now and buying Limbo instead. Since it’s available on PS3, 360 and now PC and they’re all identical just go ahead and get whatever version you prefer. Or the cheapest one.