Limbo Review

Fans were both excited and nervous when they heard the 2010 platformer Limbo was coming to iOS. It’s not the dark visual style, the minimal sound, or the creepy atmosphere we worried might not translate well to the touchscreen– it’s the controls. Games like Limbo require responsive feedback that a player can expect from a keyboard or a controller, but not necessarily from a touchscreen. I’m glad to report that you can put your fears to rest: Limbo works great on iOS.

Neither the directional controls or the action button appear on screen, so there is nothing to obstruct your view of this beautiful game. The main character is a boy, and he’ll move in any direction you swipe. Actions such as grabbing a lever or jumping are done with your right hand; swiping upwards will get the boy to jump, and holding your thumb on the screen will make him grab an object.

The story of Limbo isn’t all that obvious, and to this day it’s still up for interpretation. The game involves a boy who is looking for his sister. There are no weapons or non-playable characters to help you on your search, so you’re on your own from beginning to end. The environment is presented in a monochromatic, slightly grainy, film noir style. In some cases you could make the argument that this is supposed to be a horror game– and with some sort of death awaiting you around every corner, it’s a sound argument.

In order to solve the games many puzzles and traps, you need to be able to think quickly. The checkpoint system is pretty forgiving, so even after making a mistake you won’t have to travel very far to try again. Like Super Meat Boy or Braid, Limbo’s gameplay is very much trial and error, which at times can be frustrating. However, its very rewarding when you solve a puzzle or avoid a difficult trap.

The game is a little short, and very linear, which may be a downside to some. Personally, I don’t feel this is a game that would benefit by having multiple paths or being a longer game.

Limbo is one of the finest games ever released in the App Store, and even if you’ve experienced Limbo before, you’d do well to play it again on iOS. The game looks and sounds amazing, the world you’re thrown into is so dark and mysterious, and is just begging to have all of its secrets uncovered. If you somehow missed out on this experience three years ago, it’s an absolute Must Have. This game is a classic.

5 thoughts on “Limbo Review

  1. I just finished this game today. I originally played this on the XB360 but never finished it there. Definitely worth the $5. I played on an iPad 3 and never had the game once crash on me.

    • The port was really well done, I was surprised. I played the game on an iPad 2 and the iPhone 4s, and didn’t have any issues with it. Happy to hear you enjoyed the game.

  2. Limbo is the kind of game that’s just perfect for mobile devices. It’s perfectly playable in small chunks, but has this “just one more level” edge to it as well. I’ve never played it on other devices, but I can’t imagine better, highly intuitive, controls than the touch controls that are used here. If you’re considering getting this game but are a little uncertain because of some reviews saying the controls are imprecise, don’t be. As for the often mentioned high difficulty and frustration level, I seriously don’t know what they’re talking about. The game is certainly challenging, but with a little perseverance and some wit it’s very beatable indeed. Death is frequent, and there’s a lot of trial and error, but that’s just how this game tests your intellect. Failure is never cheap, and never the result of impossibly sharp timing. I’m not an avid platform gamer, I actually shy away from anything that involves too much fast finger action, but even I could handle these challenges. Maybe it’s because I grew up in an age of games where limited restarts where a rule (yes, I’m that old…), but the fact that Limbo picks up the game again just a couple of seconds before your demise, and lets you do so infinitely, feels very forgiving to me.
    Add to that a highly engrossing atmosphere, very inventive and varied puzzles, a great physics engine (the game never crashed on my, StP!), just the right kind of morbid humor, and just the perfect game length and you’ve got one hell (or should I say purgatory?) of a game.

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