Saturday, March 24, 2012

Limbo (PC - OnLive)

Time Played: 30min (OnLive Demo)

What Happened:
Hahaha, I don't even know WHAT just happened. I've known about Limbo for the last year or so, and was always sort of vaguely on my "I'll play this at some point" list. Today I went to OnLive to see if I could play any of the IGF games still, and I saw that I could play this for free and thought it was as good a time as any. So yeah, Limbo is clearly known for its macabre, creepy imagery - so I was expecting something creepy. In fact, I had put it off largely because I wasn't really sure what to expect and I thought it might even be a little scary (note: I'm the biggest wuss on the planet).

So, here I am in this quiet, creepy world that exists just to kill me. At the very beginning, I was trying really hard not to die, since I didn't know what would happen and it seemed scary - but then I walked into my first bear trap (I was trying to move it and I'm very clumsy with a keyboard). The death definitely made me jump (because it's startling when a bear trap slams shut on you), but I also didn't care because I found out there is no real consequence to death in Limbo.

Soon, eveything about Limbo just seemed really weird. I was just watching brutal death after brutal death. It wasn't scary or tense, it was just sort of gross. Is that what this game is about? I managed to die every single time there was an obstacle because I'm so terrible at games (also in my defense, I think most of the deaths are supposed to be unavoidable the first time?), but at some point because I wasn't feeling particularly emotionally engaged, I started to find my own incompetence pretty amusing. I was already moving in this direction (amusement) when OnLive dramatically altered my experience and I got my first spectator (in the end I had 3). Now people could see how often I was dying, which was pretty embarrassing - and consequently made the experience a lot funnier. (I even got a cheer for my 3rd or 4th death on the same obstacle).

In short, what the heck is this game? Is it supposed to feel serious, tense, or hilarious? Or just.. gross? Also I learned that OnLive's spectator system can dramatically alter how a player experiences a game.  

What I Liked: 

Puzzles. Some of the puzzles were neat, and required a bit of thinking. I wish I hadn't seen someone already solve the first spider - it might have taken me longer to figure it out. I particularly liked it when I was required to climb up into the trees, since it was a change of pace.

Art. Yes, everyone talks about this game for the art, and it's because it's cool. :) Now as for the mood...

What I Didn't Like: 

Build Up. I think the build up at the very start of the game seemed a little too slow. The first puzzle could have happened a bit sooner. The main actions are familiar to all platformers, so I didn't really need a lot of time to get accustomed to them, or figure out what I could do.

Deaths. The animations themselves were so over the top that they just seemed comical. Again, perhaps this was the intention - and if it was, I'm not really into that sort of thing. 

Mood? As I said above, the mood was unclear to me. The art says one thing to me: this is serious and creepy - but I didn't feel any of that while I was playing (aside for maybe the first 1-2min). For me, it all comes down to the fact that your death means nothing (and the death animations being a little goofy). I just couldn't care about dying. Oh yeah, also there's a whole section where you hop around after being bound up by a spider... how is that anything besides hilarious? 

How Do I Feel About Continuing?: 
I think I'm done, thanks. :) It didn't really feel like anything 'special' to me - just a puzzle platformer with neat art. Maybe if I could see it later in the game when the puzzles are more challenging, I might be interested... but the weird mood makes me inclined to think that the direction on this game was a little wishy washy, and that it really wouldn't be worth my money or time to see what else was in store. 

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