Limbo returns to Xbox One – review
We know what you’re thinking: “Why, four years after its release on Xbox 360, we’re still talking about Limbo? “Well, we wouldn’t want to bother with overly excellent comparisons but given its re-release on Xbox One, it makes sense as the Blu-Ray version of Clerks (or any other landmark movie in your past) or a remaster of your favorite album.
There have been many well-made platformers, just as many those with dark and minimalist tones, but few can boast the result of Limbo: become a source of inspiration, quotes and, indeed, re-editions.
If you are part of that curious group of people who have never had the opportunity (or desire) to play with it, know that Limbo is one of those titles that can make you believe video games can really be an art form.
Visually inspired by film noir and presented in various shades of gray, Limbo tells a story with no text, dialogue, exemplary scenes or soundtracks. All we have in front of us is a boy who wakes up in the woods and has to go on, puzzle after puzzle, jump after jump, until he finds a person.
Did you know that the giant spider from the first levels was inspired by the arachnophobia of one of the developers?
The interaction with other human beings is minimal: either they run away or they attack you or they are dead, and the same is true for the rest of the world in which you move. Whether in a forest infested with giant spiders or in the gears of a city without a name, the world around you is either a scenography or it tries to kill you, in the bloodiest way possible.
Limbo it is a deliberately not very descriptive title, which makes “trial & error” its founding element. It is assumed that you do not really know what to do, it is assumed that you will die sometimes and pass certain steps only after many, many repetitions. And it is right that it should be so because the lack of the slightest explanation is part of the minimalist poetics of the game, of that feeling of estrangement and fear of the unknown that the developers want to pass from the empty eyes of the protagonist to you.
Simple but solid gameplay, noir sets, very accurate choice of sound effects and interesting puzzles therefore make Limbo a picture in motion, a videogame poem with the only defect of being a little too short.
On the meaning of the game we could spend hours and hours chatting over a beer. Is the boy dead and facing his personal hell, looking for a modern Proserpina? Does it represent the various stages of growth and disenchantment of a human being? Or maybe we are faced with an attempt to find closure and continuation in the face of mourning?
As beautiful as they are, city settings lose something compared to woodland ones.
We ignore it but we know that the ending made people discuss (indeed, we would like to know what you think in the comments) and that objectively, in a world that is looking for a happy ending and “explaining it” at all costs, Limbo has the courage to go against the tide leaving us suspended.
We are not faced with a gentle, pleasant and serene game. Limbo it can be a beautiful and disturbing experience, as long as you get out of the logic of the player who has to go on for the sheer sake of solving puzzles.
Limbo it is a coffee that is not too long but very strong, toasted and ground with care, which deserves to be tasted with a certain calm and not thrown down in a hurry as if it were that of an office machine. It is also a product that has stood the test of time tremendously well, either for its particular artistic vision, or for the well-orchestrated puzzles.
If you’ve never played it and an Xbox One is showing off in your living room, we advise you to try it without too much delay, because up to now you have missed out on something worthwhile, whose merits go beyond mere longevity.
When we say that Limbo has become a transversal work, we are referring to this.
An advice that we do not give to those who have already had the opportunity to try it on Xbox 360 or in one of its various ports, because this “next-gen” version does not add anything to the game of a few years ago. What is certain is that if you happen to have it on hand (perhaps because it was given away by Microsoft) second round you could also do it. Are you really sure you remembered how to pass all the puzzles?