Well, that’s what every single review seems to like to talk about. Sure, they praise the game’s stark graphics, its haunting and effective gameplay, as well as the use of music and sound. But it all then boils down to this: Limbo is too short, ranging from three to five hours, for $15.00.
However, I’m still playing Limbo, still enjoying it a lot, bit by bit, and that’s kind of the difference I think in all of this. Game journalism reviews and non-journalistic reviews; two different beasts, one black, one white, with two different motivators behind them and no gray mist in-between. One plays a game as fast as possible, with a deadline looming and words to write/videos to record, and a second game on the pile waiting to be played. The other…well, we just play the game and write about it as we go or whenever we finish. Or heck, even weeks later. There’s no rush. The world’s not ending until 2012 anyways.
Recently, Kyle Orland of the now defunct Games for Lunch wrote about this oddity over at Gamasutra. It’s an excellent article that examines why this issue of length and hours of gameplay is so much more important to specific folk. This idea of a set game length…it’s pretty absurd. Everyone plays a game differently, and everyone gets a different experience that way. Take me. Despite what this blog might project, I don’t play a lot of videogames. My time is of the essence. I have to often squeeze in gaming time from 10 at night until 1 in the morning, and then the weekend, if I’m lucky, is mostly devoted to my Nintendo DS.
The fact that I got Limbo for free last week and have still not beaten it…is great for me. I like sitting down, playing it for about thirty to forty minutes until I get stuck, and then moving on to something else for a bit. I’m in no hurry to plow through the game itself, just to see how long it takes me and then claim that, “Wah, wah, it’s not long enough!” Well, you can always make it longer…by playing with it less.
Wow, that last sentence is full of innuendo.
Plus, Limbo is full of hidden eggs. Not Easter eggs. Hidden eggs. Sneaky, devilish, Solid Snake-like eggs that are super good at hiding from you. Some are tied to Achievements, and others exist just to build up your completion percentage as high as it goes. Right now, I’m not concerning myself too hard with finding all these eggs, but they’ll add some replay value when I go back a second time to hunt them all down. I’m thinking I’m about 60% through the entire game…kind of hard to guess at this point.
So, I don’t know. Limbo is a really beautiful, creepy, and clever game. You can make it as long or short as you want, and reviews shouldn’t sway anyone on whether it’s length is a determining factor for a purchase or not. This game is an instanct classic and just has to be played. I’ll most likely finish it up this week, but will definitely come back to it for more.