Flashback Fridays: Limbo (XBLA)

Hello everybody, welcome to another installment of Flashback Fridays. For those of you who are unfamiliar with what’s going on here, please refer to previous articles for more information. Today we are going to take a look at something that literally changed my entire perspective on what video games should be about. The title that I am referring to is one of the most unusual, yet very rewarding experiences that I’ve ever played on a modern console, Limbo.

As I stated in my one of the more recent Flashback Friday articles, there are a number of different games that my girlfriend and I had the chance to check out back at Pax East 2010, one of which was Raskulls. After getting my ass handed to me in that game, the two of us decided to take a look around to see if there was anything else that might look interesting to play, and sure enough, this very dark and dreary looking game by the name of Limbo caught our attention, and we just had to check it out. Upon first glance, neither of us could figure out what this title was about, but once my hands touched that Xbox 360 controller, everything changed. This was one of the most immersive games that I’ve ever played, and here’s why.

First of all, the setup itself is just downright crazy. Instead of being told what to do and where to go, your character is immediately thrown into a strange world for no reason at all, leaving him with no choice but to keep pressing forward to see what happens next. I love this idea because the entire game is open for interpretation by the player, so basically the story is what you make of it. Almost every single video game I’ve played before this told me exactly what I needed to know right off the bat, so when a developer decides to go ahead and change everything we have come to know about video game stories since the dawn of time, it makes the experience that much more intriguing.

My first attempt at playing this title was a bad one because I had no idea what to do. There was literally a group of people surrounding me saying, “Hey, this is a puzzle game, and you need to figure out how to move on to the next area using the resources that are available to you in unique ways.” After finally getting a chance to play through it at home, I began to understand what they were talking about. Almost every stage requires the player to do some creative thinking in order to get through them. This could mean doing something as simple as pushing an object to create a platform, or knocking a branch off of a tree to create a floating device in order to cross a river, and so on. Once I started to pick up on how to use creative thinking to my advantage, the experience was over, but oh boy was it one to remember.

Limbo is not for everybody, but for those of you out there who are looking for something a little different than what you’re used to, it’s definitely worth checking out.

That concludes my story on Limbo for XBLA, but if you have any fond memories of this game please feel free to share them with us in the comments below.

Here is a short gameplay trailer for anybody interested in  this game. Enjoy!