Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Let's Review: Limbo

 Limbo first caught my eye with its simple and eerie yet inviting aesthetic. I'd seen some screenshots and was captivated by the depth of field and layered look of strong bold foreground elements and faded but intricate background elements. The composition of nearly every scene is striking. I wanted to know the game and indulge in its look. But then there was this massive spider and suddenly I didn't care how pretty it was... I just wanted to survive.

Spiders are icky.
 The character you play is a little boy presumed to be in Limbo, looking for a little girl. Their relationship is never explained and even at the end, it's ambiguous at best. The contents of the game were at times disturbing, but even though these violent and often cruel areas exist, the whole thing was overall quite placid and calm. However, many awful fates can happen to your character, and those he meets along the way. The overall silence in the game added to the bleak hope of making it through alive.

 I began the game having no real idea what it was about, but quickly needed to get my brain into gear as I discovered its puzzles. They start off simple, as with any game, involving elements like: push this box here to jump up there... use that floating corpse to hop across the lake... push a bear trap towards the giganto spider's leg in the hopes that it will crush its soul enough that it would leave you alone (not the case, spiders have no souls). And then things started getting more complicated, puzzles were becoming time dependent. If you didn't solve them in time or act fast enough, you were subject to drowning, crushing, falling into the abyss, skewering (by a spider's legs... ew) or my favourite, being mind controlled by a glowing worm thing that doesn't like light but will gladly set you in the way of certain death while ending its own life. For me, time based puzzles are stressful enough, but in failing to complete them and seeing all the oh so many ways you can end your little boy characters life, added an extra edge of urgency. On the upside, the game is so smooth  and simple that there is very little respawn time, so you can get right back to the puzzle and try again. And again.

Oh yeah, you can get electrocuted and sawn in two as well!
 Thankfully though the puzzles are mostly based on simple physics. Midway and late game puzzles dealt with water, weight and gravity. Some of the water ones involved buoyancy and for some reason, they had me stumped most of the time. I don't know why I failed to grasp them so.

 I felt the difficulty of the game followed a smooth curve as I went, I did come up against some mental brick walls a few times, but I feel that was down to me not being observant enough. There were no real times that I wanted to give up though. I had to show this game who was boss (still not me) and carry on.

Gravity logic.
 Being a side scrolling puzzle game, its very linear and except for a few diversions to collect eggs (the games answer to secret bonuses) there is only one route to take. This didn't bother me, the game was taking a journey and I was a passenger.

 As with most things that end in ambiguity, it left me wanting more. I had questions. But after reading a little more into the developers thoughts on the game, I was saddened to hear there was nothing more to offer than the game itself. But I got over it. I enjoyed the game for what it was and when ever I'm asked about it, I do recommend it. Even if you are a renowned arachnophobe such as myself. For me, the fact that it left me questioning, tells me it had done its job. There are some games or films I have encountered that were done badly, instead of me asking questions about the content and possible back story I was left asking "what was the point of all that?"... rhetorically of course. So, to me, this game ends in a good way.

 The game took me a little under a week, playing 2 hours a day to finish, however I was coming to the game brand new and it'd been a while since I'd done any puzzle games. I'd say it's a reasonable length for an indie game and its price (£6.99 on Steam) reflects that value. I know its possible to do speed runs of the game, providing you know the ins and outs of every puzzle, and there are achievements for dying as little as possible. I feel this adds a little to its replay value, however if you are not an achievement hunter then this can feel like a grind.

This puzzle will foil all attempts at achieving "five or less deaths"
 I do like this game, half of my mind wants to call it a dear, sweet game when thinking about the art style and the looks, but the other half reminds me of the unforgiving nature of the puzzles and the occasional dangling of something hopeful just at the edge of your vision, only to have it torn away from you when you get closer. It's still lovely though.

 News from the developers of Limbo, Playdead, promises a second game in the future. It may or may not link to this first game, but many ideas that didn't make it into Limbo have been considered in the new project. Excited? Yeah me too!

 I hope you enjoyed this review, feel free to comment and let me know your opinion of the game, I would love to hear it, and also if you haven't yet played the game, I hope you will give it a go and again, I would like to know what you thought .

 You can watch my full play through of Limbo here on my channel. It's all set up in a neat playlist!

 My next review will be of Tomb Raider: Underworld which I played early last year.

 Thank you for reading, have a lovely day, happy gaming and I will speak to you all next time! Buh-bye!

Monday, 7 January 2013

Happy Gaming!

A typical face of Nutty.

Hi there!

Online I am known as Nuttylamb, and this is my story.

 I am a gamer, and an artist... or illustrator of you want to get fancy about it. I also make videos. Gaming videos. The world of online gaming videos on YouTube has evolved into many different genres, and I inhabit the branch dubbed "Let's Plays".

It started with watching others doing lets plays, I enjoyed watching them, it reminded me of watching my older brother playing games (that at the time I was too young to play) and even though I was not actively directing the game, I still felt part of the experience. Since then I decided I would like some of the time in the driving seat and hopefully pass on gaming experiences to others... hopefully not so much the underage ones... but those who enjoy the gaming community, but are in a situation I was in, once upon a time, of not being able afford games (I still can't afford it!).

I started my gaming channel a little over a year ago, and my first year has solidified my love for the sharing of my gaming experience. The community that has gathered around my channel has astounded me, some of the areas are close nit and I get to chat on a personal level with them and its wonderful, I would consider a lot of them friends.

So whats the point of this story you hypothetically ask for the sake of me making progress here? Well, I want to spread out a little further with my channel. Although in my videos, I talk a whole bunch, I'm actually a terrible speaker when it comes to real mouth words. A vast majority of my videos are recorded live, meaning I owe a lot of my content to the game I'm playing, its all very reactionary (which can add to its hilarity).

 I do love talking, discussing and documenting, so this Blog is born. I want a place I can offer a coherent opinion about the games I play and the gaming community. There are no umms and ahhs and there is fewer risk of my mouth skipping ahead of my brain and often spilling out sentences with all the right words but in the wrong order. It happens more often than I'd like it.

So here we are! I intend to revisit my old playthroughs of the games I played last year (a wonderful benefit of recording things) and refresh my opinions of them, and write reviews! And then continue to game and write and game and write and possibly attend some more game related meets, talks and conventions (last year I attended my first: Eurogamer, and fell in love).

I also want to write about some other things surrounding the gaming community, there are a lot of things there to talk about and that I have an opinion about. I will also accept suggestions for my posts, even if its on something I haven't heard about yet and not formed an opinion, I will have a lot of fun researching, have no doubt.

So this is my introduction, I'm looking forward to writing more about this passion of mine :)

Thank you for reading, I hope you have a wonderful day, happy gaming and I'll speak to you all next time! buh-bye!

My channel