Fable Anniversary Review

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"The original Fable didn't live up to the absurd hype and revisiting this remake serves as a reminder of just how much of a letdown the series has been over the years."

I’ll never forget my childlike excitement for the original Fable back in 2004. I eagerly followed every article, every blurb and every video teaser, completely falling under Peter Molyneux’s spell as he promised a game that would redefine the genre. Unfortunately, Albion’s magic and allure wore off quickly upon the game’s release. The end result was a mix of patchy excellence and broken promises. Fable’s charm and lore was undeniably appealing, but Molyneux’s absurd hype drove everyone’s expectations to unrealistic heights. The same happened again in 2008 with Fable II, and things went really downhill with Fable III when Lionhead Studios streamlined its already simplistic gameplay and introduced further bizarre design decisions taking away the little magic that was left in Fable’s crumbling universe.

I can’t say I had much optimism when the HD Fable remake was announced. Updated visuals and tweaked gameplay may be enough to make a decade old game feel slightly more contemporary, but it still doesn’t change the game’s core…it’s still not enough to make it better. Nevertheless, I figured a smoother, more stable, Fable experience might be fun for nostalgic purposes and considering the fantastic HD remakes we’ve seen over the years, there was hope to right at least some of the wrongs. Now that it’s finally out…I’m not sure whether I have any faith left in the franchise. Instead of refining the original’s technical shortcomings and emphasizing its few strengths, Fable Anniversary is an unfortunate reminder of the series’ lack of focus and consistency.


"Horrid framerate and frustrating load times make Fable anniversary a real disappointment. You're better off playing the original on PC for a smoother, more enjoyable experience."

To their credit, Lionhead Studios has done a fine job or retexturing and remodeling all environments and creatures. There’s a substantial difference in detail between the old and new Fable…but that’s only as long as you’re not moving. Once your hero starts running, the framerate chugs to unbearable lows. It’s not just during fights either…simply walking around town while turning the camera makes Fable Anniversary feel like a slideshow. I understand that Xbox 360’s hardware is now considered ancient compared to the new generation, but the sloppiness of this re-release is far below the console’s standards.

Furthermore, the new character models look terrifying. The original Fable had charming, cartoony and well-stylized figures, but I have no idea what Lionhead Studios was going for with this new demented look. The hero, the NPCs, every human character looks like a wax statue gone wrong. Their robotic movements and lack of lip-syncing don’t help either. Cutscenes look like drunken puppet shows and there are bizarre pauses during dialogue segments where the screen halts on a character’s face for several seconds. It’s bizarre; it’s uncomfortable…and frankly just plain lazy.

The gameplay has been overhauled, but that’s not saying much. Fable is still a sloppy button-masher that lacks precision and challenge. The gameplay feels like a mix between Fable II and III, and while it’s a little tighter than the original, it’s still fundamentally bad and unexciting. Fights are a chore and unless you’re looking away from the screen, it’s impossible to die.

Devoted fans might argue that Fable’s intrigue is in exploration, the lore, quirky oddball characters and diverse quests. While this is partially true, I can’t help but feel that only a fraction of the experience delivered on those elements. Conversing with Albion’s inhabitants is a delight at times, but the novelty of Fable’s Sim-inspired social interactions wears off quickly. There are only so many times you can fart and flex your muscles in front of townsfolk before it becomes stupid and annoying.

Despite Fable’s faults, there were moments when I was completely immersed and couldn’t put the controller down. While the main narrative is nothing new or unique, there are plenty of characters that carry the conversations with wit and humor. For some, this may be enough to call it a good game, but there are far too many vastly superior alternatives in the genre and Fable just doesn't have what it takes to rank with the rest.


Review by: Tin Salamunic | Reviewed on: Xbox 360

6.5
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Deadlight Review

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Developer(s): Tequila Works
Publisher(s): Microsoft Studios
Platform(s): Xbox Live Arcade, PC (Steam)
Release Date: August 1, 2012

Just when you think the Zombie genre has reached its creativity plateau, a game like Deadlight comes along and breathes new life unto the undead.  This atmospheric although short-lived sidescroller perfectly captures the sense of dread and desperation as you fight your way through waves of Zombies and platformer puzzles.  Oh, excuse me, it’s “shadows” that we’re calling the undead this time around; Zombies must be a different strain of the virus.  What’s with all the alternate name-calling?
  • Eerie and atmospheric
  • A unique approach to the genre
  • Moments of brilliance
  • Too Short
  • Very repetitive gameplay
  • Puzzles are too easy and levels are too linear
Our story takes place in 1980’s Seattle.  Society is decimated after a virus breakout reanimates the dead, and our protagonist, Randall Wayne, gets separated from a group of survivors in his search for his family.  Deadlight is a platformer that feels like a mix between Prince of Persia and Limbo. Deadlight thrives on atmosphere, and the game’s visuals are nothing short of amazing.  The dark, silhouetted foreground frames the immaculately detailed backgrounds that range from disheveled cityscapes and rooftops to fallen neighborhoods and sewers.  The camera zooms in and out as you enter tight vents and small rooms, and the overall color palette is as muted as the silence that haunts your every step. 


Randall is nothing but a silhouette and the weight of his movement hints at his state of mental distress and physical exhaustion.  The only time you see the details of his features is during illustrated stills that tie the levels together.  These are stylistically similar to the first Infamous game, and while the loose drawings carry a nice raw aesthetic, they feel stiff and unimaginative compared to the rest of the game.

The eerie graphics are accompanied by engrossing sound effects.  Echoing drops of water provide a melodic tempo as your feet hit the ground and each city block welcomes you with flesh eating roars of the undead.  But dull voice acting continually interrupts the immersion.  Randall sounds like Max Payne doing an impersonation of Christian Bale as Batman.  His raspy voice sounds constipated instead of like someone running for his life.  It’s not that the voice acting is necessarily bad; it just sounds forced and unnatural.


Playing though Deadlight feels like reading a fantastic novel that had several pages ripped out.  Moments of excellence tease at so many innovative possibilities, but the game never steps beyond its basics.  The levels are linear and you’re hopping over dumpsters, climbing electrical poles, and jumping rooftops for the majority of the game.  Meanwhile, slow moving Zombies will try to go for a bite, but they’re fairly easy to avoid considering that there’s almost always an immediate escape route.  Your best bet is to lure them into traps by yelling.  You can clear an entire path by leading them into a corner of a level with your voice.  It’s a nice tactic, but it quickly looses its effectiveness once guns are introduced.  Bullets are sparse, but you don’t need too many to cap anyone in your path. Aiming is done with the right analog stick and a shot to the head is enough to avoid confrontation.


Halfway though the game you meet a crazy old geezer who goes by the name Rat.  He was living in the sewers long before the world collapsed and booby-trapped the entire underground.  While the puzzle platforming becomes a bit more interesting during these stages, it requires no intelligence to progress.  Not only is it obvious where you need to go and what you need to do, Randall also coughs up clues as he faces each obvious obstruction.  By this time you’re equipped with a slingshot that can trigger certain mechanisms, but a big, fat, red painted X makes it pretty clear where you need to shoot.  Despite the lack of challenge, the platforming is still very enjoyable if you’re looking for a quick distraction.  Even though Randall moves like a retired Prince of Persia, the controls are solid and the animations praiseworthy.


Like every tale of Zombies and the end of days, the undead aren’t the only problem.  As usual, you have your everyday crazies that’ll exploit a tragedy to relish their self-indulgent appetites for chaos.  “The New Law” is a reckless militia that fends for itself by any means necessary.  Of course, these nut jobs pose a greater threat than the flesh eating Zombies and the narrative quickly takes a turn for the obvious.  While I don’t expect the same depth or finesse that Robert Kirkman gave us with The Walking Dead, it’d be nice to see something that leans away from the norm.

As an adventure that only lasts about three hours and never expands upon its potential, Deadlight is worth playing only if you’re a die-hard fan of the genre.  The platforming is fun, albeit simplistic, and the visuals are the game’s strongest quality.  But the lack of challenge and repetitive gameplay will leave you with a feeling that the developers lost direction and focus once they explored their fundamental ideas. 

Final Score “When Innovation Misses the Mark” 7.5
Graphics
Beautiful environments and superb animations. Deadlight oozes with atmosphere and detail, although the overall level designs feel simplistic and linear.
8.5
Gameplay
Deadlight plays it too safe throughout. The gameplay, while solid, is extremely repetitive and simple. The puzzles are a joke and there is no sense of challenge.
6.5
Value
The game is three hours long. By the end, you'll feel like you've played a really long tutorial for a really great game…that never happened. Deadlight has so much potential, but it misses the mark in key areas to be called a success. There are collectibles along the way, but they're all laid out in front of you and require zero exploration.
5.0
Sound
Sound effects compliment the eerie visuals beautifully, but the voice acting is borderline bad. Randall sounds ok, but he needs to shut up about the already obvious clues when you're facing puzzles.
7.5

Review by Tin Salamunic
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Tin Salamunic is the founder of The Game Scouts. He is a Video Game Journalist during the day and illustrator by night. He's been obsessed with video games since the early NES days, collecting every major system and game on the market. Video games are the reason he pursued the illustration career and he hopes to be creative director for a video game company one day. All Artciles by Tin. 

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Dust: An Elysian Tail Review

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Developer(s): Humble Hearts
Publisher(s): Microsoft Studios
Platform(s): Xbox Live Arcade
Release Date: August 15, 2012

If there’s still a single person that believes video games are not an art form, they should be slapped.  You don’t need to label something as art only if it hangs on a gallery wall or because it has historical value and significance, art is be the product of passion, unimaginable sacrifice, and commitment – sometimes it’s a painting, sometimes a sculpture, and sometimes it’s a video game.  When someone like Dean Dodrill comes along, a man that single handedly creates a video game that usually requires an entire team of people, it becomes clear that video games, as art, transcend the medium.  It took Dodrill three years to complete Dust: An Elysian Tail, and while he had support with the soundtrack and voice acting, he is solely responsible for everything else.  Dust is an amalgamation of traditional action-adventure platformers like Super Metroid and Castlevania, and while it doesn’t bring anything conceptually new to the genre, it combines bits and pieces of those classics into one of the best XBLA titles this summer.
  • Beautiful art style
  • Amazing animations
  • Fluid, responsive, and flawless controls
  • Fun dialogue and a surprisingly engrossing narrative
  • Furries everywhere
  • Imbalanced difficulty
  • Unimpressive boss fights
Your journey begins in a beautifully painted forest where Dust wakes up to a talking sword, Ahrah, and its flying squirrel-like guardian, Fidget.  Dust has no recollection of his past and Ahrah reveals that he needs to take a journey of self-discovery to find his true self.  While the initial premise is trite and unoriginal, you’re going to be surprised by how engrossing Dust’s journey becomes as you progress through the story.  The witty dialogue and colorful supporting characters are irresistibly charming, and the narrative adds layers of depth as you explore this gorgeously rendered world.  Don’t be fooled by the cutesy and furry art style of the game, its visuals are a stark contrast to the brutal, sword-wielding combat, and while there’s no blood painting the screen, Dust is as badass as Bucky O’Hare.


The gameplay is reminiscent of Atlus’ classic Odin Sphere.  It starts off as an easy to pick up hack and slash sidescroller, but quickly turns into a parade of dazzling combos and special moves.  You’re constantly learning new abilities, some that enhance combat and others that allow you to reach new areas on the map.  Dust moves with fluidity and grace and each button press responds with unprecedented precision.  But even with the visually impressive choreography, the flawlessly responsive and fast controls fall into the trap of repetitiveness.  Defeating enemies usually requires nothing more than quick reflexes, but to call this game a simple button masher would be unfair.  Despite its simple nature, experts can still strive for that x-hit combo and cool special maneuvers.    


The sense of discovery and exploration keeps the game intriguing throughout.  Each town holds new opportunities for venturing out. Figures with hovering leaves above their heads hold quests, and it won’t be long before you’ve queued up your log with new adventures.  Similar to Metroid, there’s a lot of backtracking involved, but it never feels like a chore since each new area is filled with secrets.  Your companion Fidget hints at nearby treasures and possible secondary paths, and she can even help out during combat by firing projectiles.  Fidget is very much like Link’s fairy, but she certainly doesn’t practice the same code of silence.  Her high-pitched voice would typically annoy me, but the cleverly written dialogue is surprisingly humorous and enchanting.

As the duo battles waves of monsters, you occasionally run into boss fights.  Unfortunately, most of these brutes are pushovers and they pose little threat to your deadly combos.  On the other hand, overall difficulty throughout the game feels unbalanced.  Difficulty spikes occur at random and catch you off guard, but luckily, there’s a fantastic check point system that regularly saves your progress.


Dust: And Elysian Tail has astonishing visuals.  The screenshots don’t do the game any justice and you have to experience it in motion to appreciate its esthetics.  Dodrill did a fantastic job of drawing the characters, painting the backgrounds, and more notably, animating Dust with sublime delicacy - the game looks better than most Saturday morning cartoons.  Accompanying the stellar graphics is the surprisingly strong voice acting.  When I say stellar, I mean it’s superior to what you’d expect from most AAA titles.  Who are these voice actors, Dodrill’s friends and neighbors? 


As you discover new villages and towns, you’re greeted to an array of whacky personalities. Every conversation brings Dodrill’s universe to life with hilarious dialogue and charm.  By the time you’ve completed your fifteen-hour journey, you’ll feel emotionally invested in Dodrill’s colorful world and characters. I won’t spoil any surprises, but let’s just say that you’ll cross some familiar faces and collectibles from the olden days of gaming.

I can’t express enough reverence for Dodrill’s prestigious Dust: An Elysian Tail.  The game is a testament of what a single person can accomplish with enough passion and determination.  The end result is a beautifully orchestrated synthesis of skillful programming and exquisite craftsmanship.  The game is visually stunning, fun to play, and a joy to explore.  It’s an XBLA title that deserves a special place in your collection.

Final Score “A Legendary Accomplishment” 9.0
Graphics
Beautifully painted backgrounds that are accompanied by superb animations and fight choreography. The game looks better than most TV cartoons these days, although the Furries might be a bit too much for some.
8.5
Gameplay
You simply cannot make gameplay more fluid than this. It's fast, responsive, and fun, albeit somewhat repetitive. The controls are old fashioned, but they fit the style of the game perfectly.
9.0
Value
Surprisingly engrossing narrative with likable characters, a ton of quests, and a vast world to explore. It'll take you a good fifteen hours to complete, which is more than what most full priced AAA titles offer these days.
9.0
Sound
If a single developer was able to find such talented voice actors, then no other major studio should have an excuse for poor voice acting. The characters you meet are lovable, memorable, and your companion Fidget is surprisingly charming - despite her high pitched voice.
8.5

Review by Tin Salamunic
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Tin Salamunic is the founder of The Game Scouts. He is a Video Game Journalist during the day and illustrator by night. He's been obsessed with video games since the early NES days, collecting every major system and game on the market. Video games are the reason he pursued the illustration career and he hopes to be creative director for a video game company one day. All Artciles by Tin. 

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Mark of the Ninja Review

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Developer(s): KleiEntertainment
Publisher(s): MicrosoftStudios
Platform(s): Xbox 360
Release Date: September 7, 2012

Mark of the Ninja is one of the most ambitious, enjoyable, and creative indie-developed games on the Xbox Live Arcade, period.  This little gem does not only stand up to stealth veterans like Splinter Cell, Metal Gear Solid, Hitman, or Tenchu, but its gameplay is superior in every way, setting new standards for the entire genre.  In a way, it’s more of a stealth game than all the other titles combined.  Developed by Klei Entertainment, creators of the fantastic Shank 2, Mark of the Ninja is a must have if you own an Xbox 360 - and it’s only fifteen dollars!

The Good
- The best stealth gameplay around
- Creative level designs
- Superb graphics
- A ton of replayability
- Great checkpoint system

The Bad
- Subpar ending
- Occasionally finicky controls

The narrative plays out like an episode of a Saturday morning cartoon.  It’s fun and charming in a Samurai Jack kind of way, with gorgeous 2-d cut scenes that are somewhat short, but superbly animated.  The controls in Mark of the Ninja are perfect.  Moving around the comic book style cityscape feels smooth, precise, and flawlessly responsive.  Level objectives are generally straightforward; you’re moving from point A to point B while seeking out collectibles along the way, but it’s the level design diversity and the many ways you can take out enemies that make this title above everything else in the genre.


Expectedly, the gameplay focuses on sneaking around and taking out baddies stealthily, but what’s amazing is that the stealth works exceptionally well in the two dimensional environment, I’d say even better than in most 3-d games.  Similarly to Splinter Cell, you’re crawling through vents and hiding in shadows most of the time, but it’s the perspective that makes the navigation so strategic and fun.  There is a gradient of light surrounding your character, the Ninja’s line of sight, giving you just enough environmental visibility to plan your next move. But you’re not just moving from left to right, no, you can crawl underneath your opponents, across the ceiling, and even directly through the rooms while hopping from vase to vase while trying to stay undetected.  Once you’re behind an opponent, you tap X for a cool finisher move.  But like a real Ninja, you don’t want to leave the bodies lying around.  You can hide them in vents, toss them down the stairs, throw them into dumpsters, and even hang them from the ceiling to freak out the other guards. 

As a Ninja, you have to keep quiet and the game handles noise vibrations very creatively.  When sprinting, you see sound vibrating in a large, circular halo around your character and if guards catch the noise, they quickly move to your position.  If they find a dead body or if they see you in the distance, they immediately sound the alarm and start scouting the area, searching vents, doors, and other hiding places.  A Metal Gear Solid style timer counts down until the guards return to their positions, giving you seconds to either move forward or stay put until the situation settles.


Once you start acquiring gadgets, things get really exciting.  Every traditional Ninja gadget is at your disposal; smoke bombs, throwing stars, spike traps, you name it.  You assign gadgets to the D-pad and you can mix and match gadget combos to catch enemies off guard or set explosive traps for them.  You’re given multiple solutions to get through each area and this gives the game tremendous replayability.  Once you reach later stages, rooms become filled with lasers that can kill you in an instant, poisonous gas, guard dogs that can sniff you out of hiding spots, and even snipers that can take you out with one shot.  This is where all the Ninja strategizing comes into play.  You can use a smoke bomb to disable a laser, or you can drag a dead body across the sensor to prevent detection.  There are so many possibilities in each area; you’ll want to replay the levels over and over just to figure out the coolest way to increase your score.

While the gameplay is definitely some of the best in the genre, there are times when the controls are somewhat finicky.  If you drag an enemy into a particularly tight vent, the button commands will have a spasm and you’ll keep picking the body back up when you’re just trying to exit the vent.  Other times, you have to navigate around moving boxes while dodging lasers and you end up plunging to death because your character jumped, instead of moving around the box.  Also, since your Ninja sticks to walls when you jump against them, it can be tricky navigating narrow areas quickly because you end up getting stuck when you’re actually trying to jump off.  But this is all just nitpicking. Mark of the Ninja has some of the most refined control mechanics around and I honestly wouldn’t change a thing about them.    

Then there’s the incredibly addictive scoring system.  You’re given points for every stealthy, Ninja-like action.  If you hide a body after killing an enemy, you get points.  If you remain undetected in a hiding spot while guards are passing by, you get points.  If you use a combination of gadgets to distract and then kill an enemy, you get points.  At the end of each level, you’re given an honor score, which is based on your overall performance during a mission.  It’s incredibly satisfying finishing a level with a perfect score, especially in later, tougher stages.

You’re also rewarded spending points based on your stealthiness that can be used to upgrade and purchase gadgets, or learn new moves.  You can even equip different outfits that have varied attributes, like increased damage, faster movement, more durability, and so forth.  Adding to the already complex levels are hidden challenge rooms.  You have to find a giant, hidden gong that transports you to a trap-filled room with a hidden treasure.  These rooms are trickier than most levels and they’re a great plus for treasure hunters. 


Mark of the Ninja boasts some fantastic visuals.  If you’ve played Shank 2, you already know that the developers have a unique, charming, and cartoony, albeit bloody, style.  But unlike the colorful setting of Shank, Mark of the Ninja is significantly darker with only hints of color in the background.  Even though the entire game takes place in a night-covered cityscape, there’s plenty of visual diversity as you traverse underground dungeons, subways, Japanese gardens, and rooftops.  Everything is beautiful animated, from the Ninja’s smooth acrobatic skills to the brutal kill animations.  Accompanying the stylish visuals is the superb audio.  It’s quiet, atmospheric with no background music.  All you hear is the echoing of your footsteps and the guards’ chatter in the distance.  The occasional voice acting is really well done, but it’s in the second playthrough that you truly start appreciating the sound effects.  Once you beat the game, you unlock a new game + that removes visual sound cues and forces you rely solely on the echoing of your footsteps.  You need to learn and memorize how far the sound will travel when running through an aluminum vent versus a wooden floor.  If you manage to score perfectly on this new difficulty setting, then you’ve got some mad skills to brag about.


There is no other way to put this; Mark of the Ninja is the best game on XBLA.  Even players that dislike the stealth genre will get a kick out of the title due to its creative gameplay mechanics and fantastic replay value.  The developers should be commended for their originality, especially when you consider that the game has set a new standard for stealthy gameplay.  If you thought Splinter Cell and Metal Gear Solid handled sneaking around well, you’ve seen nothing until you play Mark of the Ninja.

Final Score “The Best Game on XBLA” 9.5
Graphics
Beautifully animated, Samurai Jack-style visuals with incredibly diverse level designs and awesome kill animations. Mark of the Ninja feels like an interactive comic book and it's one of the best looking 2-d side-scrollers out there.
9.0
Gameplay
This is hands down the best stealth gameplay ever. Mark of the Ninja raises the bar for the genre so high, it makes you forget about Sam Fisher and Solid Snake. And if that's not enough, it has more replay value than most AAA titles out right now.
9.5
Value
The first playthrough was much longer than I anticipated and you'll be playing the levels over and over as you try and perfect your honor score. The levels are long and there are multiple ways to your objectives. Bravo!
9.0
Sound
It's subtle, quiet, and atmospheric. It sets the mood perfectly and you'll have to heavily rely on the echoing of your footsteps if you decide to go for the more difficult, new game + that eliminates all visual sound cues.
8.5

Review by Tin Salamunic
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Tin Salamunic is the founder of The Game Scouts. He is a Video Game Journalist during the day and illustrator at night. He's been obsessed with video games since the early NES days, collecting every major system and game on the market. Video games are the reason he pursued the illustration career and he hopes to be creative director for a video game company one day. All Articles by Tin.

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Limbo PC review

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Developer(s): Playdead
Publisher(s): Microsoft Game Studios (XBLA), Playdead (PSN, Windows, Mac)
Platfrom(s): Xbox 360 (XBLA), Playstation Network, Mac OS X, Linux, Cloud (OnLive), Windows
Release Date: July 21, 2010

Fans of horror games are no strangers to gory deaths.  Whether you’re used to being eaten by zombies or trapped on a ship with murderous aliens, death after horrible death is commonplace in the horror genre.  Arnt Jensen’s puzzler, Limbo, will show you every gruesome way to die imaginable, and then some.  Limbo is practically a genre to itself—a side scrolling, simple-yet-complex brainteaser, imbued with a sense of fear that rivals even the biggest titles in the industry.  While there's a complete lack of apparent story and the controls can be oftentimes clunky, the game is in a class by itself - an experience no gamer should miss.

The Good
- A surprisingly complex experience 
- Easy to learn, difficult to master
- Satisfying puzzles

The Bad
- Controls are awkward at times and cannot be changed.
- No story

Before delving into the complete experience, I need to address the puzzles.  They are, of course, the backbone of the game and they are delightful.  They begin simply enough, but build to an almost frightening complexity.  They’re challenging in more than just a mental sense—sometimes, even if you know how to solve a certain puzzle, it’s nearly impossible in practice.  Some puzzles left me with devastating frustration.  When I overcame them, it was like I’d defeated a hated enemy, and I continued with pride.  Looking back, it’s hard to believe I found the opening of the game so underwhelming, I almost didn’t play.


I’ll admit that in the beginning, I was unimpressed with Limbo.  While I love puzzle games, I am also a ravenous fan of narrative, and Limbo has none.  Also, the game’s simple graphics first struck me as shoddy and incomplete.  But by the time I reached the end, I felt triumphant.  It’s one of the best surprises I’ve ever experienced as a gamer.  And its biggest strength by far is its ability to sneak up on the player.

At first, when the screen opened to blackness and shades of gray, I was disappointed.  With no story to guide me, I meandered through the black forest, gray sunlight streaming down, and wondered what I was supposed to be doing.  I leapt a spiked pit.  I climbed down a rope and into a cavern, listening to the sound of my footsteps and the ambient rustle of the grainy trees.  Slowly, I realized I was in a puzzle game, and the world was trying to kill me.  I could die, and die horribly, with a squirt of blood and a rolling head, if I stepped onto a bear trap lurking in the grass.  


The deaths in Limbo are comically unrealistic—limbs leaping into the air as black blood spurts like a fountain, oversized head rolling away.  But this doesn’t detract from the sense of unease that builds around the player.  By the end of the second chapter, I was leaning close to my screen, waiting for some unknown terror to leap out. 
It was only then I realized what Limbo was aiming to achieve—and achieving masterfully.  The graphics are dark, grainy, and plain.  The music and ambient sound are minimal.  The puzzles begin so simply, they go unnoticed.  But Limbo is a deceptive game in that sense.  All of these individually simple features coalesce to form something greater, something layered with complexity.  


Limbo is not just a horror game—it’s a game about fear.  It inspires real dread in the player, without relying on monsters to do the frightening.  There are monsters in Limbo, certainly; there are other children who try to kill you, and giant spiders that take forever to die.  But the real enemy in Limbo, if it can be said to have an enemy, is the world itself: a dark, gripping ambience made of shadows and angst, which drives home the idea that it's not darkness we fear—it's the horrors that might lurk within.

Review by Laura Conrad

Final Score “An Indie Classic” 8.5
Graphics
The entire game might be black and white, but it’s an incredibly unique art style that radiates with atmosphere.
8.0
Gameplay
It might take a while before you get the hang of the game, but once you immerse yourself in the puzzles, you’ll be hooked.
9.0
Value
Every second spent in the world of Limbo is a memorable experience.
9.5
Sound
Atmospheric yet sparse. The sound that’s there works perfectly.
8.0
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