Nothing but a Diversion

Today I finally got around to playing through the demos of both Bastion and Limbo. This will likely come as a surprise to nobody, but I just wasn’t too enamored with either game.

First, I’ll start off with what I did like. Both games have very nice, although very different, graphical styles. I especially appreciate what Limbo has done with its highly limited color scheme. Whereas Bastion is highly stylized, but colorful and unique.

Sadly, both games feel like nothing more than temporary diversions. To be fair, Limbo is $9.99 and Bastion $14.99, so there’s something of a, “What else did you expect?” aspect going on. Well, I expected more, after reading a few reviews and watching a couple of trailers. Bastion, in particular, felt very “Been there, done that,” to me. Limbo was too dreary for me to imagine playing more than a few minutes at a time (I suppose that means the setting was successful, though).

Let me contrast this with Terraria, a very cheap game that I enjoyed immensely, although I never actually got around to “winning” the game (I could never convince my friends to play). Everything about Terraria proclaims quick and easy diversionary fun, but then the game offers surprising depth. Limbo and Bastion felt as though they promised depth, yet delivered very little.

There are two lessons I’m taking from this experience. One, as with most things in life, always under-promise and over-deliver, if you can get away with it (or maybe over-promise and then over-over-deliver?). Second, there’s nothing wrong with simple diversionary type games, but, considering how cheap, or even free, so many good simple games are, I would prefer to focus on something a little bit… more.

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