I am going to make a confession right here and now; when Limbo first came out and had everyone talking about it, I did not pay much attention to it. Why? I do not really know. I guess I just did not like the entire craze surrounding it. I don’t really know, I am sure it was a really weird and absurd reasoning that kicked in during that time. So its been couple years since its been released, and I decided to at least to check it out since there been times where I occasionally wondered about the game since there was one video I seen that got me a little curious about the story.
After seeing a bit of the game-play trailer, I figured that since it appealed to my fondness for puzzle platformer (among other genres) that I’d buy it and give it a play. I am at the stage of wondering whether that is one of my smarter ideas or not. I am pretty sure somewhere there is a list of things I have done, that I thought was smart but in hindsight wasn’t the brightest idea I had.
Depending on your interpretation, limbo can mean the place between life and death. A void of non-existence or a purgatory of sorts where the souls of the recently dead reside awaiting for judgement and various other ideas of what limbo would mean.
The game is said to take place on the “edge of Hell’ where you play as a nameless boy who awakens in the middle of a forest within limbo. The boy’s face does not have any features except for his two white eyes which stand out in the darkness. A handy feature to help you keep track of the boy, when he is going through a pitch-black environment. The boy’s only mission is to find his missing sister,traversing through the various environments while dodging various dangers and solving complex puzzles. Encounters with fellow humans are few and far in between. Most of them either being dead and either attack or run away from you.
The game has a ‘trial and death’ kind of playing style, where death has a common occurrence as it is part of the game’s design. For Limbo, death is used as a teaching method where the player will most likely die before finding the correct solution to the current puzzle.This means that you will spend a good majority of the game dying in a variety of ways while finding ways to complete puzzles, before you can complete the game itself. However, this kind of design will usually lead into frustration since the game is unforgiving. One mistake will cause you to die a gruesome death (optional gore filter option is given if you want to spare yourself). You do have the advantage of having a checkpoint system which often places you a couple of paces away from your point of death, preventing a great portion of back-tracking.
The game has surreal beauty with its brooding art-style. Each environment is hauntingly beautiful with the overriding sense of desolation. The sense of desolation only being amplified by the minimal presence of ambient sound. However, some players will have trouble staying immersed with the game’s world due to the series of puzzles that force players to experiment their way through.
Limbo’s puzzles are not difficult to complete, but does need the player to think before completing the puzzle. The puzzles are logical so once you figure out what to do, you will speed through the puzzle without issues. Unless the puzzle has a timer which requires you to beat to complete the puzzle, then things might get a little difficult. Which is my current situation where I am stuck trying to get my timing right so I can jump from the ladder to the platform, and hopefully not land on the electrified floor. There are even easter eggs, or glowing larvae/worm that you can find to get achievements if you manage to find them. If you are able to find it, there is a secret level for you to solve.
The game does not offer a clear story or plot, allowing you to come up with your own interpretation. Although the official story is about a boy finding his missing sister. Limbo brings a lot of questions to the table, but provides answers to none. In the world of Limbo, things are not clear-cut yet the lack of explanations does not detract anything from the gaming experience.