LIMBO: Review

 

LIMBO is one of the most special games I have ever played.

I wanted to write up a quick review for this game despite it being about a year out of date; but recently the title became available on Steam and so I’ve finally had a chance to play this game after waiting for ages.

In short, LIMBO is a platforming and puzzle solving game with a stunning art style. You play as a nameless boy who has just awoken in Limbo (otherwise known as the edge of Hell) and to say anything else of the plot would ruin it for you. Though, that said the game is minimal in every regard, including the enigmatic plot.

LIMBO is a great example of visceral storytelling and the mute protagonist reflects perfectly, the world of barren despair and death which you traverse. This game world is a punishing one; you will die often – the developers coined LIMBO ‘- a trial and death game’. But that’s fine, the puzzles escalate to an almost punishing level by the end but once you come to the solution you might kick yourself that you did not realise it sooner. LIMBO’s gameplay is roughly 70 percent reliant on these puzzles and so it is testament to the level designers at Playdead studios that their puzzles can be only slightly frustrating but always solvable without guides. I had to only quit the game once when I was stuck on a puzzle, but after stepping away and coming back to it I worked out the solution.

I finished LIMBO in  3 sittings, and for a game that took me about 4/5 hours to complete that should reflect the addictive nature of LIMBO’s gameplay and immersive gameworld. But whatever you do, don’t be put off by the short campaign length. There’s no multiplayer but I am already excited to replay LIMBO, it is the perfect length for a game as avant guard as it is.

I must not finish without talking about the game’s stunning art direction. I have played many beautiful, cinematic games with Shadow of the Colossus being my other most notable choice for amazing art in a game. However LIMBO is completely unique and instead of being grand and epic, it is suitable poignant and minimal through it’s clever use of black and white, the dusty vignette and the constantly flickering light sources, a reminder of lights preciousness and frailty.

Overall I could not recommend this game more. It’s beautiful, addictive and totally unique.

I don’t review games enough to give it a numeric score but this is my final word on LIMBO.

Buy. This. Game. 

LIMBO is available of XBL, PSN and Steam. 

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5 Beautiful + Interactive Web Toys

You could have seen these sites earlier if you were subscribed to my twitter, I post daily about photography, web design and creative things in general :)

Hey Guys,

I hope you are all keeping well; I think todays post is really neat. What you will find below is a collection of my favorite web-based interactive toys/gadgets. These are highly creative and blend the boundaries between art, gaming and music. They will help you mellow out or maybe just make you smile, either way, these are pretty damn cool-Just click the name or image to visit the sites.

1. Sinuous

I’m going to go through this list starting with my favorites descending through the list, and this is by far my favorite. Sinuous is a beautiful flash game, that in its simplicity achieves great beauty. The ‘synthy’ electronic music in the canvas for a visually soothing experience. The game itself is simple enough, move your mouse (The blue dot) and dodge the red dots, there are a few scattered power-ups but this game isn’t about high-scores, it’s about a relaxing and beautiful experience which has stuck in my head for some time.

2. Scrbtle

Now this is a cool one, though it has changed a bit from my first experiences with it. Scrbtle is essentially a drawing tablet with a mirror effect built in; when first released the mirrors met int he middle, with each quarter of the screen a perfect mirror of the other quarters (if that makes sense). However now the programme has changed slightly to create these circles as seen above, that’s not really an issue for me though, the tool still works great and now you can add your own basic lines of code to create completely unique works of art with minimal effort. Scrbtle also smooths out your mouse strokes so they never appear too jagged which is a really big bonus. Trust me, if you click the link, you will lose many hours of your life!

3. Matrix

Third on the list is ‘Matrix’, this is a really impressive tool that creates music based on which squares of the grid you’ve clicked. It sounds simple but the music this can make is genuinely complex and pleasant to listen too; I assume it’s based around timing in regards to distance to other squares and how you’ve clicked, but that shouldn’t really concern you. What you should focus on is the interesting ways you can create melody with this tool, and even though I’ve been playing with this that last few days, I’m still not bored of it. It narrowly misses out on the number two spot, only because I feel ultimately there are more creative opportunities with Scrbtle; that said it’s still a really fun piece of kit that can kill a lot of time.

4. Sketch of Voronoi

Do you remember looking at cells through microscopes in science class? No? Well I do, just about. Number 4 is a neat little interactive animation that, I suppose doesn’t really do that much, it beats number 5 though just because I don’t fully get it. That’s what I like about this entry though, it’s a constantly evolving piece of art that you can interactive with, maybe it does have meaning, maybe not, either way you gotta admit, it still looks pretty cool.

5. Liquid Particles

So, you’ve probably got the jist of this post by now; number 5 is much in the same vein as the posts preceding it, another interactive tool that creates a wonderful visual image, though sadly no audio for this one. The Light Particles in mention track your mouse, but also get repelled with a mouse click; by combining movement and clicks you can create a vivid image indicative of movement. It may only last a second but the instances of art this tool creates are really cool, so it’s definatley worth a look.

UPDATE: Just my luck, as soon as I post an article about web toys, I find a new one the next day that I could have used for the post! Click here for an amazing a versatile tool that lets you paint beautiful ‘fire’.

Peace,

Matt  :)

Top 5 Videos of the Week [02/01/2011]

Hey guys,

Sorry for the lack of proper posts this week but sadly as my exams are looming I have less free time to contribute to the blog. However they will all be over in a fortnight and hopefully I can become more active again! However I could not desert my new feature seeing as I only started it last week! So here are the top videos from the last 7 days; it’s a mixed bag this week with: one tutorial, two graduation pieces, a gorgeous short film and something a little bit different. Please leave a comment letting me know what you think!

1. Growing is Forever

This is a stunning visual piece by Jesse Rosten who like me has a great passion for forests. I have always adored the beauty and might of forest vistas and I think Rosten captures these beautifully, set alongside a perfectly appropriate monologue.

Video: Jess Rosten (Click for website)

Music: Window by The Album Leaf

 

2. Time Warp Project

This is the first of this weeks two graduation pieces; it’s an almost photorealistic animation of a car crash from the first person. It’s a visual treat with the perfect moments slowed down to almost a stop, I must say my favorite moment is at 1:07 where the lighting effects are perfect. incredible in every way, this man deserves your subscription.

Video: Urialamour

Music: You Only Live Once by The Strokes

 

3. Slow Motion/Pin Warp

Time for something a little bit different now; this is a tutorial from one of my youtube subscriptions who predominately makes gaming videos. Now this isn’t something I intend to blog about at any particular length, but the technique in this tutorial can be applied to any still image, not just gaming. It’s a simple enough effect where we are taught how the pin warp tool in Adobe After Effects can create the illusion of super slow-motion.

Video: oDcreyfish

 

4. Train of Thought

This is the second of this weeks graduation pieces from the Arts Institute in Bournemouth (Woop!) as these guys are just across the road from where I study am I very proud to hopefully create a little more awareness about this incredible piece of work. Though the effect looks relatively simple it actual took a painstaking amount of work to achieve and you can watch the ‘making of’ video here. Truly this is a masterful piece of work.

Video: Leo Bridle

Music: Portico Quartet arranged by Jack Wyllie

Sound Design: Andrew South

Official Website: www.leobridlefilms.co.uk/trainofthought/

 

5. Holiday Portrait

And now for something a little different, I just wanted to repost the example of video of the latest vimeo weekend project. It’s a simple enough premise with the idea that you set up a self-timer photo then sit with your friends and see how long they will wait, the idea of course that actually no photo is going to be taken they are just being filmed! The concept is called a fauxtograph and I thought this was a really neat little idea.

Video: Blake Whitman

Project Group: Vimeo Weekend Projects

What video was your favorite? Please leave a comment below letting me know what you think. You can see last weeks Top 5 Videos here.

Peace Guys,

Matt  :)