When used correctly, monochromatic art can transform a good game into a great one, as illustrated by Playdead’s new Mac App Store release Limbo ($10). The walk-and-jump platforming gameplay is engaging enough to be worthy of recommending in its own right, and is augmented by absolutely beautiful graphics.
Limbo is offered up with no backstory, no explanation. You’re simply thrown into the game as your character wakes up in the woods. The only controls are directional arrows and a multifunction action button, but despite the apparent simplicity, the environment is highly interactive; within the first few minutes of starting play, you’re moving boxes, climbing trees, and swinging from ropes. Instead of the haunting soundtrack you might expect from a game such as this, the only sounds are those of your surroundings and your footsteps. It’s tough, legitimately scary, and beautiful.