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Old 07-May-2012, 20:58   #1
Grall
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Default LIMBO

This former Xbox Live-only title has been out on Steam now for a while - in both PC and Mac flavors - and I've played it for a bit. Not sure how far in, as there's no level changes or anything like that. It's just one seamless gameworld that scrolls mostly right-to-left as is the norm, with some up-and-down action too.

I'm sure you guys have seen screenshots, it's a fully black-and-white game, set in a shadowy realm of horror and death - LOTS of death. ...And spiders. Holy crap, those spiders! The hero is a small child-like figure with large, glowing eyes whom has to traverse this hostile landscape.

The graphical style is very clean and simple in a way, with a big cinematic angle; there's depth of field blurring foreground and background layers, the camera zooms in and out at times to adjust how much you're allowed to see of the surroundings, and there's a generous helping of film grain covering everything.

There's little details like low foliage growing along the ground, little pebbles tossed up by our hero's feet, and so on. The background often scrolls in parallaxed layers, which tweaks my nostalgia knobs something fierce, and everything is very nicely drawn. Some of the foreground graphics use quite low-res textures which looks a bit rough, but it's nothing worth complaining about really. Animation-wise, everything is superbly handled. Motions look realistic, but there's also a large dose of cartoonism infused in everything, balancing up the horror to some extent.

The gameplay is a cross between platforming and puzzle solving, often physics-based, and no fighting. Basically, anything you would fight in another game kills you in LIMBO, and you actually don't have any attacks at all. The closest we get is by using environment objects to defeat enemies, and many of these puzzles are quite clever. Some are quite frustrating as well, as timing becomes a more and more important element.

I've played LIMBO both on my PC - where it starts up in 2560*1440, the native rez of my screen - and also on my Macbook Pro with sandybridge-based Intel HD 3000 graphics. On my thunderbolt display (also 2560*1440, but I rather doubt that actually is the rez the game uses) the game runs rather smoothly; sometimes updates sag a bit when there's a lot of transparencies in use, but on the whole it's a wholly enjoyable experience and at no time did I die because of lack of hardware "oomph".

The game also syncs between game sessions using Steam cloud support (including between PC and Mac versions), letting you continue seamlessly where you last left off, regardless of which version you played last. This makes LIMBO a perfect game for laptop play when travelling or otherwise on the move!

The one issue I have with playing the game is the controls; you're stuck with either using arrow keys and Alt (on Macs) or Ctrl (on PC), or a gamepad to manipulate your little figure. It's a bit awkward playing with the keyboard, but I intend to buy a 360 gamepad. The wired Mad Catz MLG pad looks very interesting.
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Old 07-May-2012, 21:01   #2
I.S.T.
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I use a Logitech F310. It has a switch on the back that lets you toggle between Xinput and Directinput.

Very nice controller.

Only complaint is there is no vibration. There is a F3xx model that has vibration, but I do not recall the exact model name. Logitech's site or a search engine would let you know which one you want.
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Old 07-May-2012, 21:17   #3
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Yeah, gratz to Microsoft for creating a totally different input scheme for their Xbox controllers than the one they use for their own windows OS. Typical myopic MS idiocy...
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Old 07-May-2012, 21:19   #4
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LIMBO is amazing!

Played it both on my gaming PC with 24'' and HTPC powered by Llano A-3650 (320 shaders) on 52'' telly. Great experience especially at night!

One thing you forgot to mention and which was striking me in that game is soundtrack! Simply amazing!

BTW 3h is enough to finish this gem once
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Old 07-May-2012, 21:31   #5
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Yeah, the sound design really is rather striking! It's so understated I actually missed out on mentioning it, but it's very very effective. Really a display in "less is more". Apart from sound effects - which are all very well done, creaky machinery and woody sounds of trees and rocky, gravelly stuff and water and stuff - much of it is continuous tones that overlay to create a dynamic, moody soundscape, but there's some bits of actual music too interwoven here and there. LIMBO has some wonderful stuff, I must say.
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Old 08-May-2012, 17:05   #6
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Been playing Botanicula too today - see what the wait for Diablo 3 is driving me to do! lol - and it too is a really outstanding game. It's been out a little while, but only became available on (European) Steam store the other day, so I haven't been able to play it until now.

Like its predecessor Machinarium, it's a Flash title, completely point-and-click driven. No need for any keyboard input at all. This also makes it ideal for laptop use, and it runs quite well on my Macbook despite the horrifyingly bad Flash implementation under OSX. My dual core CPU is constantly loaded 50-60% or more, but at least the game looks really good.

Art is a big step up from Machinarium - much more elaborate designs, loads more colors, and much more stuff moving on-screen too. Download is over 700MB, so this is to be expected. Then again, a big chunk of that size's bound to be audio though, which is just amazing. So many quirky, humorous sound effects, the sound duo "Dva" which handled the audio are a really talented gang.

Gameplay-wise, Botanicula is a lot more laid-back than the rather hardcore Machinarium. While there are point-and-clickers that are far more extreme (like games in the "room escape" genre for example), Machinarium still relies quite a bit at times on the player finding and clicking tiny little widgets on the screen, which Botanicula isn't quite so focused on. Sure, there are many hidden things to find, but they tend to be optional, humorous additions and achievements.

The audio-visual experience of Botanicula makes me think that it must be an awesome game to play together with young kids, even I as a jaded adult go LOL bigtime at what happens on-screen.

Then again, the puzzles aren't always a cakewalk. I'm currently stuck hard on the rocks of a particular section of the game and haven't found a way to proceed yet. Seems I've missed something, but I'll be damned if I can figure out what it is...

Also, this game doesn't have steam cloud support unfortunately, so it won't synch progress between computers (more than achievements). That's a bit sad, but not really that big a problem in this genre of game anyway.

For the price, the value of this game is hard to beat. It's such a wonderful accomplishment. Thoroughly recommended to anyone who does not hate cuddly, quirky characters and bizarre environments.
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Old 03-Jul-2012, 20:43   #7
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Bought LIMBO Special Edition (unboxing video available here) from Amazon today, just because I would like to support the company. Also as a contributing factor, I'm a bit weird when it comes to special edition stuff too, I just love a nice box full of nice stuff - although a rather small DVD-case sized box in this case, unlike my Heroes of Might and Magic Complete Edition which is just monstrous at 33cm by 32 by 9.5 roughly (bxhxd).

Included is a DVD with PC and Mac versions of the game, a sticker with the image of the poor boy's head (eyes not glowing, unfortunately), some postcard-sized cardboard cards with concept art print, and also a digital Steam key included in the box, so one's not forced to use the hardcopy until the end of time to reinstall the game.

There's a scant few copies left at Amazon UK right now it would seem, so anyone interested may want to place their order now rather than later. Like the Kotaku guy says though, this is a rather niche item and probably only appeals to collectors. It is a two-year-old game by now after all.
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