Well, my goal of posting one game a day has completely failed. I missed one day, and then another, and…well, you get the idea. So, the 12 Days of Games plan is totally scrapped now. But I still want to finish my Best Games of Last Gen list, so I will be marching on and posting when I can. Hopefully I finish this before the end of the year. Again, thanks for reading, and please leave a comment!
Developed by Playdead
One of the major developments of the last console generation was the rise of lower budget indie games. With bloated budgets and declining creativity, large studio projects (or “triple A games”) increasingly began to cater more to pleasing company shareholders than providing exciting and interesting new concepts. Thankfully, the indie scene picked up a lot of the slack in this last generation and one of the best examples came from developer Playdead in the form of Limbo. A 2D side-scrolling platformer, Limbo presents a creepy dream-like world full of dangers and saturated blacks and whites. The game tells its story exclusively through its world, as an unnamed boy makes his way through this world on a quest to find his sister. That is the entirety of the plot, and yet, Limbo is a deeply affecting game and much of this has to do with its presentation and atmosphere. The crux of the gameplay revolves around navigating environment puzzles, in which failure often leads to the boy’s sudden, violent death. Playdead gets away with this shocking subject matter by having its protagonist appear just in shadow, which obscures the gore depicted, but it’s still gut-wrenching every time you mess up and have to witness yet another grisly death.
You’ll have to get used to death, as it just keep coming in Limbo; the puzzles are truly challenging, and require a lot of trial and error (or in this case, “trial and death”, as Playdead affectionately calls it). It’s so damn rewarding figuring out how to get past the game’s deathtraps though, that you won’t mind dying repeatedly. One of the game’s best moments comes early on, as you have to outrun and outwit a terrifying giant spider. Honestly, it’s one of the best moments I’ve had in any 2D platformer, and is so rewarding when you figure out how to get past it. The game transitions almost seamlessly from natural settings to danker urban landscapes, and it’s always interesting to see where the game will take you next. While a brief experience (taking about 4 or 5 hours to complete), there is nothing padding out Limbo’s length. By the game’s end, you will be mentally and emotionally exhausted, but left completely satisfied with everything the game offers.
Limbo is a significant game by any standard, especially because it’s an indie game that managed to stand right alongside triple A games as a contender for game of the year in 2010. This helped to dispel the myth that only games with the biggest budgets and best graphics qualify as the greatest products the industry can put forth. Limbo had simple mechanics and graphics (but remains a gorgeous game), and yet it stood toe-to-toe with the likes of juggernauts such as Mass Effect 2 and Red Dead Redemption. As such, Limbo represented a turning point for the indie scene, which continues to produce exceptional games to this day. That is why Limbo is one of the best games of last gen.