I previously said that I would finish off LIMBO and then start doing productive things: this turned out to be a false statement. Instead, it turns out that I wanted to game a bit harder than that (and Steam sales are crazy), and hence broke some of the self-imposed constraints that I detailed in the first winter break post just to batch through a few more games (theme of my life: batch through everything). But now, it’s time for a couple day retrospective, and I’ll write some thoughts on what I just played.
There are probably spoilers.
A cute little puzzler. Wait, did I say cute? I meant gruesome: after I finished the game, I learned that the makers of LIMBO architected the game so that the player would have to die at least a few times to get through sections of the game, which makes all sorts of sense. In fact, I would be surprised if anyone could play through the game without coming to that conclusion or going insane (maybe some platforming genius with precognition?).
Once you get over the prospect of dying multiple times just to get past a puzzle, then it should be fine: I didn’t breeze through the game, but I only got seriously stuck (as in ask the internet for help) twice, and then mostly because I was impatient. Sometimes I got annoyed because the controls didn’t feel responsive, I would grab a rope and then jump off it because I was holding the up arrow while airborne (because the arrows affect your movement in midair, which is annoying). However, those and similar issues are not hard to put up with, and it’s easy to get lost in the shading and shadows for the several hours it takes to pick apart the puzzles (6 hours + 2 cheats. Yes, shame shame).
The ending is gruesome. Wait, did I say gruesome? I meant cute. And abrupt. And it’s basically all the story/motivation you get from the game, and it comes at the very end (and did I mention it’s cute?). A tabula rasa would feel somewhat confused about the plot; why he is running away from spiders and dealing with mechanical monstrosities and killing children, when a sentence long synopsis (Do it for the girl!) would suffice. If you had to read the description of the game to buy it, then we don’t run into this problem, but gifting… well, we’re here for the platforming and the creepy atmosphere, so we’ll sweep that under the rug.
tldr; Braid spoiled me, I whine whenever I have to start over from the beginning of a puzzle.
So during the insane Steam holiday sales, all the Introversion games ever went on sale in a bundle for $5. I’ve been thinking about getting myself some Introversion games ever since they did that kind-of-open-source-thing, and once they went on sale it was a no-brainer.
There aren’t that many RTS games released, and even fewer I want to play: in this case, Multiwinia sated my desire for a game where I could send waves of minions into the thresher, and do it within half an hour (I’m looking at you, Sins). The multiple game modes spiced things up, but there’s ultimately not that much strategy involved, and a man can only cackle manically for so long.
Worldwide nuclear war: what’s not to like?
Well, if I had friends that played it, too, then I could see it being even more fun when we all inevitably backstab each other and end up punching each other in real life.
A game with an interesting premise; be a celestial body, and go grow yourself into a black hole and consume the universe. Or you could play a bunch of mini-games, but they’re not that interesting. Plus, the realism is all game play oriented, so you definitely don’t want to buy it for that. It provided a couple hours of entertainment, and I got it for a couple dollars, so it’s more or less a fair trade.
Nice looking graphics and a gravelly voice muttering quips in my ear: what else could you want? Okay, go get it!
As I sat through the credits (yes, I did that. It was 3am, what else was I going to do?), it’s never been quite so apparent just how much work goes into a single game: all the game mechanics that get dumped into a box, wrapped up with art assets, tied up with plot lines into one neat package, and then delivered by the Steam elves (maybe steam punk elves? Daft steam-punk elves? I’m sorry).
Bastion really is a gorgeous game, with the standard RPG hooks and a compelling story to boot. If I didn’t try to rush through the game (somewhat failing in this regard, because I have a need to collect all the shiny things, although I did finish the main quest in 10 hours) then there would be plenty of content that I could settle into, and I could conceivably entertain myself for quite a while.
Analogy time: if LIMBO is to a painting, then Bastion is to a short novel, keeping in mind the adage that a picture is worth a thousand words (really? Only a medium sized essay? Who comes up with these things?). And I’ll leave it at that.
Oh, and I saved Zulf, and evacuated the Bastion. In case you were wondering.