Review: PlayDead's Limbo is an uncanny platform game
At a Glance
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One thing’s for certain in PlayDead Studios’ Limbo (Mac App Store link): You will die—or, more specifically, your character will die. It’s inevitable in this side-scrolling platform game. Sometimes it’s sudden, sometimes you see it coming, and it’s always OK when it happens. It’s all part of the experience that makes Limbo one of the better platform games for the Mac.
Set in a black-and-white film noir-like world, Limbo doesn’t provide an intricate backstory or long cut scenes to set the tone. You start the game as a boy in the woods, and the object is to find your sister by traveling through the landscape. The controls are simple; you use the arrow keys and the Option key serves as an action key.
The graphics, while seemingly simple, have artistry that you’ll stop to appreciate. You’ll need to pay close attention to the subtle details of the graphics, because you’ll often happen upon a key device you need to use (with the action key), and if you’re not paying attention, you may miss it (or you may eventually die). Fortunately, you can go back if you think you’ve run past something important. If you do die, don’t worry, because you don’t have a limited number of lives, and Limbo restarts not too far from where you left off; the game’s chapters are set after each major obstacle.
The puzzles you need to figure out in Limbo range from simple to complex; some require timing, so you’ll need to work on your finger dexterity. I was stuck on one challenge in particular (where I had to grab the legs of a giant fly) for a while because I couldn’t get the timing just right. Limbo doesn’t allow for customization of the control keys, which is unfortunate, because I would’ve liked to reassign the keys to a more comfortable configuration.
Macworld’s buying advice
Limbo has been available on game consoles for a while, and it’s finally on the Mac. It’s one of the better games available. If you’re new to the platform genre, or you’ve played dozens of them, you’ll enjoy Limbo.