163 points, 10 votes, 1 TOP GAME vote
if: The first section of Limbo was unrivaled in atmosphere all year – it may have been mostly basic 2D platforming but that was not as important as the darkness, the sense of dread, the creeping realization that yes, the entire world is against you! It later went on to lose the singular feel a bit and do some clever but rather more conventional puzzling, but the art and feel of it was still strong enough to make it all still hang together as one enjoyable experience. I enjoyed the deadpan sick humor of the deaths in it a lot more than similar in other games, too.
Salsa Shark: One of the things I absolutely love about this game is that all of the puzzles can be figured out if you just think about them a bit. Limbo often rewarded contemplating and surveying your environment rather than jumping right into it.
forksclovetofu: If you liked the idea of braid but couldn’t handle the preciousness, this is your game. Best played after it gets dark; it’s not an appropriate before noon game. That goddamn fly puzzle! And the moment when you see your sister, there she is, in the light, so close AND THE GODDAMN BRAIN WORM TURNS! Totally worth fifteen bucks and one of my favorite gaming experiences of ’10.
Craig G: I dropped the full 1200 MS Points just to play this for Coint and Plick a day before the end of polling and I’m so glad I did. The atmosphere is great and the puzzles were *just* hard enough that I eventually figured them out, but at times they kept me occupied for quite some time. The game is brutal, both in how violent the deaths your character suffers at the hand of bear traps, giant spiders, crushing blocks, etc and in how it teases you with glimpses of (what I assume is supposed to be) a way out of Limbo before snatching them away because a brain worm forces you to go the other way and when you return the landscape has changed into further trials.
bnw: Beautifully done. We really need more games like this.
ledge: Very reminiscent of Another World (aka Out of This World). Inventive puzzles, evocative atmosphere, yadda yadda.
Polyphonic: Another game that goes a long way with atmosphere and good level design. Everyone I’ve shown Limbo to has loved it, gamer or not. Reminds me of sidescrollers like Out of this World and the original Prince of Persia, but with great intuitive puzzles that never veer into the absurd like Braid and enough story to intrigue but never get in the way.
Jordan: I love its positive attitude toward dying.
104 points, 4 votes
Mordy: The greatest love story (after Violet: A Distraction!) this year came by way of a platformer that played with time. Also, this might not be a love story between the protagonist and the princess, but between a scientist and an atomic weapon. Either way, the game’s final moments (as the explosion goes off and time runs backward one last time) are understated and beautiful.
Brilliam: In spite of there being a lot about this game I didn’t like, I still loved a lot about it. I hate laundry-listing games, but the mechanics and the pacing and the art are all utterly top-notch. I LOVE Hellman’s art style. What I didn’t like was everything else about the presentation; the story, the text dumps, and even the setting left me a little flat. Still, no platforming game has been this incredibly well put-together. Blow might be a bit of a dick, but he knows how to think up insane puzzles, and that’s awesome. I hope his next game doesn’t leave a bad taste in my mouth like this one did, because he’s clearly an incredibly talented director.
CraigG: Just a wonderfully mellow, yet often frustrating platformer. I play this to relax after getting worked up over Fallout.
Mitch Krpata: Twisted my brain like a pretzel. This is a game in which everything comes together in perfect harmony. Whether it’s the hand-painted visuals, the oblique textual narration, or the darkening storyline, Braid casts a spell. During development, it got its share of attention for the sometimes colorful personality of its creator and sole designer, Jonathan Blow. Since its release, debate has raged as to whether Braid is an artistic high-water mark or pretentious wankery. But there’s no need to decide at this moment whether Braid is an important game. That’s for history to decide. Enough for now to say that it’s a damn good one.
Polyphonic: This is probably the most innovative game of the year, and the short time I spent with it was among the best gaming experiences I can recall. I have shown this game to so many people, many of them gaming neophytes, and everyone has been blown away by this game, and usually a little overwhelmed by it. It’s a profoundly unusual experience to play this game, but to play it well is satisfying in a way that few games are. There are plenty of games that provide a test of your reflexes, but few that challenge your intellect as much as this game. One of the best puzzles of all time.
How do you go about reviewing a videogame in which the main character is named after yourself, a videogame made by someone you’ve met and had dinner with, someone you’ve watched drink Chartreuse and conversed long with about videogame design? It’s a difficult encounter. How do you go about reviewing a game designed by someone who is a confessed devoted fan of your writing?
98 points, 7 votes, 1.5 TOP GAME votes
Sondrangerbot: I really enjoyed beating ILXors’ records, even if it didn’t happen that often.
Polyphonic: This game completely took over my life in 2009. In a just world, this would disappear and be sent into outer space and instead I would’ve written three novels or something.
CraigG: It’s a nice simple concept, and the HD treatment makes it all the better. It’s absolutely brutal on Extreme though; I’ve only managed to complete two of the tracks.
Forksclovetofu: Trials is basically the most super awesome flash Excitebike clone ever, but I think I need to never play this again. It’s an ugly one-more-play obsession and a hair pulling stressball. Plus I’m not very good at it!
Goole: Ledge has earned enough Trials cred to be crap at every other game forever without shame IMO.
Cozwn: Fuck this game in the fucking fuck. IN THE FUCKING FUCK.
JeffLevine: Very addictive and fun at times but equally frustrating and aggravating… to the point of steam shooting out of the ears and controllers (almost) being broken.
Will M: I like it when the little man hurts himself.