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[note: thanks to the background noise of Microsoft's press only area, we were unable to hear the wonderful music of Limbo. highly recommend checking out video feed shot in a quieter setting]

Xbox Live’s Summer of Arcade is almost upon us, and an exciting little title called Limbo is creeping its way into the hearts of gamers. The simple 2D platformer utilizes audio and visual minimalism to create an experience remiescent of Darkfate.

Play Dead Games were kind enough to give us a demo of the game (interview coming soon), and I can’t be any happier that it will soon be digital added to my heart drive.

Limbo is a game about a boy traveling through an unknown world. We aren’t sure what he is looking for, or why he is there, but it’s filled with dangerous creatures and treacherous traps.It’s a platformer that sets out to deliver a powerful experience by combining unique visuals and sound. The art was born from “concept art drawn six and a half years ago,” said Limbo’s produer Mads Wibroe; its powerful black and white contrast that looks even better in motion, and can’t accurately be summed up in words.

Coupled with the simple aesthetics is a straightforward controls system that focuses on intelligent item placement, and intuitive gameplay married to the visuals. The boy can jump, and pull, objects in the environment to solve puzzles.
And that’s where you will find everything. The game is designed so that all of the assets needed to solve the puzzles are available – if the player is able to find them. The visual style allows object to be hidden in plain sight. I experienced this the hard way while trying to move across a larger body of water (the boy can’t swim).

A crate next to the water made it seem like I could run across it, but jumping on it caused it to sink. After dying a few times, I was told that a rope – an inconspicuous bastard that blended in as a member of the background – was the key to my success.After pulling the crate over to the rope, I learned that I could traverse the trees to continue on my quest across the mini pond.

The great thing was that after every death I was taken far enough back that I would pass the items I needed to complete the task at hand. The game wants the player to figure out – on their own – how to succeed, and struggling, and accomplishing, each task is satisfying.

PGD guaranteed that players won’t be doing the same things twice either. Throughout my demo I moved boxes, pushed over tree trunks, moved traps, and fooled a spider into getting its limbs chopped off. It never felt repetitive as I explored the solemn.

The demo was relatively short, but it’s obvious a lot of love was put into the game. The graphics and gameplay coexist with each other in a way that promotes player exploration and imagination. It’s the perfect example that visual power, and complex controls, don’t guarantee success. In fact, PGD is proving – along with other Indie titles – that artistically driven games deserve a place in our virtual, and retail, marketplaces.

  1. This game cannot come soon enough for me – MS was smart to push it as part of Summer of Arcade. Enjoyed the write up!

  2. This is one of the coolest looking games at E3.

  3. I can’t wait to get my hands on this one. Thanks for the awesome write up, Chase!

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