The Bush of Goats

Marc Williams, writer & designer: 'Life's too short for empty slog ans'

Playing a game of Limbo

My Xbox 360 has sat under all the TVs in our new house, but for the first time since we moved here nearly three years ago, I’ve recently found the time and the inclination to play it. My first act was to finish a game I bought from the arcade 18 months ago, but never really had the time for. But now I’ve played it and finished it and loved it.

Limbo is an independent production from Copenhagen and does game play just as I like it. Simple, with repetition in small part, not overly long, a plot you only really get to understand in the blank empty spaces as you try to figure out how the latest little block & weight puzzle needs solving, and perhaps most importantly, a really quick reload. Control is simple (back, forward, jump, action) and the manner of executions hilariously macabre: your little 8 year old boy is impaled by hidden spiders, crushed by blocks, drowned by dirty water and best of all, minced by circular saws. Luckily, all that horror and gore is depicted in a Jan Pienkowski-esque silhouette, adding to the fairytale feel.

Despite the youth of the protagonist, this is a very adult game (asides from the deaths) as you are given no real eexplanation for what is happening, or why. You must trust its worth it and do without the clodden hoofed exposition most games seem to think it is their duty to impart. best of all might be the ending, which tells you something – there’s a girl – but tells you nothing really. Seriously: she looks up; not even at you. I had feared the gloom would lift and it would be revealed as some kind of Nyan-Cat Mario-Land, but developers PlayDead held their nerve. I await their next production with much interest.




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January 2012


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