Limbo is 2D puzzle platformer hailed as an artistic masterpiece for its black and white style. Solid objects are always pure black and the eerie backgrounds are beautiful tones of grey. You’ll start in a deadly forest and work your way through even deadlier factories and sewers. Everything in the game is deadly, falling too far, crushed into a pile of goo, impaled on spikes, bear traps, mutilated by saw blades, giant spiders, horrifying insects and even shallow water. You will feel every death, the game will show the boy’s body being torn apart and the white eyes turn to black. Then you’ll restart from the last checkpoint. The restarting from the checkpoint feels like it takes a second too long for a game with so many deaths.
The controls are simple, left and right to move, a jump button and an interact button. Sadly the up doubles as a jump button, which can sometimes result in deaths when using an analog stick. On a keyboard they’re very easy with 1 hand to play the game. With an analog stick it makes things frustrating. How far up is up on an analog stick? Am I going to climb the vine or jump off the vine? On top of that… it seems like up also makes you climb down objects if you’re on the edge. So too far on the edge will have you climbing down but too far away from an edge will have you missing a jump and falling to your Doom.
Speaking of Doom, this game is just full of death. Fall deaths, simple water deaths, spike deaths, bear trap deaths and spider deaths. Bear trap deaths are pretty frustrating, because you are forced to move the traps, but sometimes your character just lets go and jumps in. What the heck? That feels like a common bug or glitch.
The other button is a use button that is good for pushing and pulling objects, which plays a big part in traversal (puzzle solving). The game makes use of physics and momentum, objects can fall, wheels will roll, crush and in later levels there is reverse gravity. Objects have buoyancy and will float, except for your character, making for water puzzles (traversal). One of the most unique elements to the game are the brain slugs that will force you to move forward with no stopping until they hit a light where you then turn around. That shows some out of the box creativity.
I can’t recommend the game, but I can recommend watching a playthrough of it. The game isn’t that long and its not a joy to play, but it is a marvel to look at.
You’ll make it through the quick game if you just keep playing. There’s nothing really that requires skill since this is puzzle solving. Its more like stand here, jump there, pull this, jump on that. Everything has been done before, but this just makes it look really good. For the explorers out there, you can find 10 or so eggs in the game that unlock a challenging secret level.
Overall, its a good game that hangs its hat on its art style. I’m not sure if its worth $10 anymore, you can find it on sale.