The first expansion for Atomic Heart, Extermination Instinct, was released in August 2023 and received high praise from us. It offered three hours of great gameplay with new mechanics and soundtrack, and also continued one of the endings. Having been patient, I began to wait for the second expansion, Trapped in Limbo, because it was supposed to tell an alternative storyline. Alas, in the end, as much as I liked the first DLC, the second one was so disappointing. You will learn more in this review.
To be fair, I was lying a little about “more details,” since there is no point in describing “The Prisoner of Limbo” in all details. Essentially, we got an analogue of a runner, in which most of the time you slide along a path, dodging obstacles and jumping over chasms. The gameplay turned out to be both primitive and inconvenient. It would seem that all you need to do is jump and collect apples. But even in this case, situations often occur when you seem to be doing everything right, but still fall into the abyss. Moreover, if you fail, you have to go through a fairly long section from the very beginning.
Add to this the fact that part of the plot the main character does not speak, but makes various sounds, accompanied by subtitles. Needless to say, with such gameplay it’s not very convenient to read them?
By the way, about the runner. There is even a separate stage here that completely copies this mobile type of gaming. Just like in Subway Surf, here you need to move along different lines, trying not to hit an obstacle. At first it seems funny that you play as a goose, which periodically shouts meme phrases in the voice of Ruslan Gabidullin from “Cube in a Cube,” but already a third of the way through you begin to think, “When will all this end?” The levels are very drawn out and sometimes ask you to perform tricks that your fingers will remember for a long time. For example, from time to time you need to simultaneously hold Q+S or E+S while moving in order to squeeze into a corner, or jump while holding Q or E to jump over an obstacle located on the side. There are also times when the goose does not jump sideways if you press the direction key and the spacebar at the same time. He is also unable to make a jump while sliding, which often leads to defeat. In general, the stage is very unfinished.
There are segments with platforming. Remember how it was in the original Atomic Heart – it seems like nothing special and rather crooked, but it dilutes the gameplay quite well. However, paying such attention to this in a separate supplement was clearly unnecessary.
There are battles in the add-on, but there are very few of them here and they are not particularly interesting, including due to the fact that they have been greatly simplified. Now purchasing weapons and leveling up happens, attention, with the help of gacha! The apples collected during the rides are spent on a special slot machine that randomly offers weapons, perks and all kinds of improvements.
I can highlight only two positive aspects in “Prisoner of Limbo”. Firstly, the new campaign at least somehow develops the plot and provides a foundation for the future, which should appeal to lore scholars. Secondly, the soundtrack is still good. Otherwise, this is a fairly passable addition that can be completed, perhaps, for show. I would like to believe that in the third, the developers will not experiment so much and will return to what they already do well.