Developer: Playdead
Price: $4.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.2
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Controls Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Limbo, the 2010 Xbox Live Arcade release that also made its way to other platforms, has finally come to mobile. For those who have not experienced this haunting puzzle-platformer, this is as good a time as any to jump in.

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Limbo is dark and mysterious, thanks in part to its silhouetted art style that renders most the world in black and white. There’s little guidance given, as players just kind of have to start running, and taking on the challenges that face them, from tricky jumps to finding ways to dispatch enemies, and avoiding traps. This is very much a horror game, as plenty of opportunities to scare the player are presented.

Seriously, this game is nightmare-inducing. The deaths in the game aren’t particularly gory, but they are rather gruesome. That it’s a kid on the receiving end of most of the carnage is part of what makes it unsettling. That, and some of the things that are encountered in the world of Limbo.

And really, it’s that mysteriousness that makes Limbo‘s atmosphere work. Nothing is ever really explained, amplifying just how unsettling everything is. Play this game either with the lights off, or with enough light to be seen from space. One or the other.

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The control scheme very cleverly eschews virtual controls by using a swiping and tapping scheme with two thumbs. Swiping with either thumb will move in that direction, swiping vertically or diagonally will jump in that direction, with tapping and holding to grab and drag objects. For running jumps, it’s possible to swipe-and-hold to be running with one thumb, then swiping to jump with the other. It’s a scheme that doesn’t entirely make sense immediately, but much like the rest of the game itself, it starts to make sense after a while. It also works perfectly for playing on TV. The game-like elements are kept to a minimum, though the Game Center achievements (for actually achieving uncommon, out-of-the-way actions) popping up with the standard Game Center alerts is extremely off-putting, but thankfully rare.

Limbo‘s horrifying world is not for the faint of heart, but for those wanting an engrossing experience, grab a pair of headphones and get lost in this strange and horrifying world.

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