Limbo is a downloadable puzzle platformer. There’s not really a story per say. It’s more or less left to your interpretation. You control a boy who awakens in a hellish black silhouette world inhabited with more traps and tricks than a Saw movie. The beginning has a great horror vibe to it, but it quickly dissipates halfway through with story elements making their rounds. As I said, there’s not much of s story in the first place, but a few more nods, and a continued theme of the horror elements would have made it better.
As Kid Shadow, as I shall call him, you can run, jump, and interact with the environment with a simple button press. For example, you can activate switches or push boxes. As you travel through this side scrolling adventure, an obstacle will present itself like a ledge that you need to get to, or an enemy you need to avoid, or kill. It starts off simple then quickly ramps up, especially toward the end. These aren’t impossible brain busters mind you, but they will make you stop and think. It’s fun for what it is and it’s one of those games, like Portal, that makes you feel smarter.
The game’s silhouette style visuals were a good choice that will age well with time. It, along with the haunting ambiance of its sound effects, adds to that horror vibe I got from the game. From buzzing blades, to chirping birds, this is one of those rare games that demand headphones to enjoy the full experience. The game can be completed in about 2-3 hours, depending on your skill, and there isn’t anything to do once you finish. Still, shortness aside, it’s a great experience that anything longer would have probably dulled.
Limbo is one of those indie games where you feel the life emanating from its creator. I would have liked a little more nods to a story, or even a higher emphasis on the horror, but it is what it is. While it may not be perfect, it’s definitely an example of art in video games, and shouldn’t be missed by hardcore, or casual gamers.
Score: 4/5 Stars
Special Notes: This article was originally published on June 29, 2012 via my Examiner account before the website shut down. Check out the supporting video review on the accompanying YouTube Channel, ReActionExaminer.