By Dennis "CallMeBackdraft" Aspers on April 10, 2020
Okay, let's do a thought experiment! I want all of you to close your eyes... Hold on, that won't work, now will it? First, I'll have to set the scene! So let me set the stage first, after which you can close your eyes and imagine the setting I staged for you. So, you are sitting at a bar when the local government holds a press conference notifying everyone that all drinking establishments have to be closed within the next 30 minutes. Saddened by this news you all of a sudden remember the stockpile of beer you have at the office. You and your coworker decide to continue drinking there and the usual chaos ensues. Now, this coworker might not be your best drinking buddy, but he is somewhat manageable... for one evening of drinking, in any case.
After a good evening, night, morning, afternoon and the next evening of drinking you wake up 2 or 3 days later (who really knows after consuming 5 cases of beer in a 24 hour period) to find out that the entire country has been put on lockdown and, not only that, the Big Chief at the DumeeGamer HQ has Chastity belted your best mode of transport out of this sour reality. To put the proverbial cherry on top of this cake of isolation, they welded shut all the exits and entrances to your offices. All of this can be managed, this social distancing thing is something I have training for, for most of my life. But then you have to deal with that one coworker, which is the only person you have contact with in the entire world. Not for a day, not for a week but for almost a month now. The office, the creaky uncomfortable chair, the restroom that should have been cleaned months ago and your Coworker have become your world, your life, your entire existence!
Now close your eyes and dwell on that for a bit. Don't worry, I'll be here when you get back. If you get back...
I can only imagine this is what being in limbo must feel like... Speaking of which... Since Sadhonker was able to connect that dusty old PS3, I have an idea on how to get some much needed escape from the reality we as a planet currently find ourselves in. How else to forget something like that then some good platforming, puzzling and slaying of giant spiders. So come with me as we travel back some ten years (in our minds) and witness first-hand what being in limbo is like!
Limbo was released all the way back in 2010 for the Xbox and a year later for PS3 and PC. The game was developed by an Danish indie game developer by the name of Playdead. This was their first game to ever be released and boy oh boy, did their break-out title make some noise by winning award after award after its release. Not only that; I mean, getting awards is one thing, but ultimately they amassed about 7.5 million dollars in revenue which, in my book, is really not bad for a game that on release cost about only 15 dollars to purchase.
But enough about all that financial hooey, shall we? One of the first things you notice when booting the game is the atmosphere; blacks, whites and greys are all you see. But from those shades we can make out a forest and discover we are a little boy that wakes up and is just there. Where are we? Who are we? and what in the world are we doing here? No explanation, no warning, no nothing... not a bloody sausage! Alright, if that's the way it's going to be, let's just start puzzling our way forward! How? Well, there's only one way to find out so, like with most platformers, we run to the right. Before long we are jumping over hurdles, Pushing and pulling obstacles, Clambering over boxes and even sailing in a little sailboat.
Even though the game is only rendering everything in black, white and grey the visuals are striking. Going through the game which, in all fairness, is pretty linear looks great. Limbo does throw you the occasional curveballs, which will have you scratching your head on how to avoid dangers and puzzle your way out of your current predicament. Plus, if you have arachnaphobia, which about 5 out of every 100 people have btw, the first real enemy you encounter is a spider... hey, where did you go??? Oh come on, its just a little one, I mean he is only about 20 times the size you are, just use this here beartrap to cut its legs off will ya... I promise you it wont jump out of the screen, so get back here and listen to my story please.
At the start of the game, we make our way through some eerie forest, but then the scenery slowly but surely starts change into a more mechanical environment, filled with huge circular saws trying to cut you in two and huge cogwheels that you'll have to use for crossing large gaps. Even when we manage that, we're not out of the woods yet... Well, technically speaking, we are after we have criss-crossed our way through that giant factory we find ourselves in an urban landscape. Let's just say that, although we are out of the actual woods, we are still in an environment that is filled with even more peril and puzzles. Talking about those puzzles, the deeper we go into this hell-scape of a world, the more intricate the puzzles become.
Where at first we only have to make sure that a box is pushed into the correct spot so we can reach a higher ledge or rope, in later parts of the game we'll have to deal with turrets shooting hails of bullets at us, creep across balance beams and dodge glowing worms that will try to control your mind. There are even puzzles that make you traverse the environment while the gravity keeps changing on you. So you could say that finishing Limbo is no walk in the park!
While we are doing all of this, you might start to wonder. What does it all mean, why are we really doing this? Now, for some, the answer might be the reason why they love the game while for others it might be the most unsatisfying answer to such questions ever; It all means nothing, yet also everything... Yes, yes; I know that might make things even more vague then before, but the developer Playdead studios, have officially gone on record stating that there is no official meaning to Limbo nor its ending. This basically means that the game itself teases you to fill in the blanks, so the story can be as mild or as wild as you want it to be. Who is that weird girl at the end? Why is that spider so big? Did nobody at that factory have the faintest idea about health and safety regulations? Oh no... I am not asking for you, I genuinely want to know...
Talking about failing health and safety conditions, Sadhonker has been awfully quiet during this whole experience... He said he went to check if he could cut open one of the exits with the Mark 2 Lancer Assault Rifle he stole from that Gabe Diaz guy... Hmm, let's see... The door is open! Finally!!! LET'S GO!!! FREEEEEDOOOOO...
Loud female voice on other side of door: *** ANY OF YOU PRICKS MOVE.... AND I'LL EXECUTE EVERY M*THERF*CKING LAST ONE OF YOU!!! ***
Sadhonker, I really hate to say "I told you so", but did I not tell you that inviting Honey-bunny was a bad idea?!