Critical Play: Puzzles

For this assignment I decided to play Limbo, a black and white puzzle-platforming adventurous game that puts players in the role of a young, unnamed, and completely unknown boy traveling through a hostile puzzling environment. I find this game very beautiful because of its visual simplicity. It is based on greyscale; however, it makes excellent use of color and contrast with the foreground in ink black and the backdrop in shades of white and grey.

It is a single player game or solitary affair where user interacts with the game world through the puzzle logic. The puzzles in this game are always changing, which make this game fun. Moreover, there is no information on where to go or how to play the game; it is a mystery understanding it mechanics. Core mechanics of the game are walking, jumping, interacting with objects. It may seem that game requires few controls to play it yet it provides a very compelling and user interactive experience. I played it on iPad and I got a great sense of pleasure during the process.

I’d characterize this game as a as a strategic trial and error puzzle game since you can’t progress at all without completing all the tiny puzzles on the way and you confronted with no information to go on. You must try one thing, find it doesn’t work, and keep trying new things until suddenly one of them clicks. While solving the puzzles you most probably will die but one of the best things about this game is that you have unlimited lives. So you will return to that part where you ended the game. Death in Limbo is inevitable, but the minimalistic approach of the game does not provide them with any kind of health bar or a counter that indicates how many lives they still have left.

It is a fair game, the answer to every puzzle is contained within the game. You can solve puzzles by manipulating objects, moving, jumping, walking. Some puzzles are really challenging, you can stuck for a while; however, after solving it you realize how easy actually it was, so the game gives the “V-8” response, which is the sign of a great puzzle.

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