Posted by Raine Hutchens on Jun 13, 2012

Review – LIMBO (PC)

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Product Information

MSRP: $14.99


Developer: PlayDead

Publisher: PlayDead

Platforms: Xbox 360, PC

ESRB Rating: T for Teen

Genre: Platformer/Puzzle


Indie games are becoming more and more complex as time goes on, and they’re also becoming more revered in the community. Indie developers work at their own free will to create works of art that can blow us away with stunning visuals and dramatic storylines. LIMBO is one of these indie titles and it’s a perfect example of the type of craftsmanship these developers are capable of. The game includes no text, no dialogue, and yet it communicates to players and bonds with them on an emotional level than most other games in existence today. LIMBO has been out for about a year now, and it’s most recently been released as part of the Humble Indie Bundle V. For that reason, I wanted to dive in and review it for myself.

Plot and Visuals

The story behind LIMBO is shady and a bit hazy. You take control of a young boy who wakes up in the middle of a dense, dark forest. There’s no telling who you are, how you got to where you are, or where you need to go. What’s even more evident is the lack of “why.” Why are you waking up here? Why is everything dark? What do you need to do? These questions go unanswered while you spend time trying to explore this creepy place. The developers have stated in a description that the boy is trapped within this land while searching for his lost sister. That’s about all we have to go on.

The only thing you know is that the place is dastardly dangerous, and you need to get the hell out of it. All of the scenery is a deep black with white details shining around it. The design is simple, yet it is very humbling to the player. Walking through the forest while the grass was blowing in the wind set in a very calm feeling, but when I walked up and saw dead bodies floating in water everything changed. LIMBO does an amazing job of dropping the player’s jaw with the most subtle of changes. Sometimes you’ll just want to stop and admire the scenery, or take a closer look at something that will horrify you.


LIMBO functions as a 2D side-scrolling platformer, and it does this well. Players will need to jump on and over objects, as well as interact with objects in the world. Each section of the game is filled with puzzles that the boy will need to overcome in order to get further into the mysterious land he’s trapped in. Some scenes will have players using bear traps to fight against evil monsters, while others will have you defying gravity.

Death plays a big part in LIMBO, and if you’re not careful you’ll be meeting with it often. There are many ways to die in the game, whether it be falling on sharp spikes, getting electrocuted, drowning, or being smashed by a large stone. The good thing about death in LIMBO is that once you die, you’ll restart right before the obstacle that you died on, or at the beginning of the scene. This will give you numerous chances to get past a certain scene, and there isn’t a set number of lives you’re allowed. By introducing this mechanic, it becomes apparent that you’ll need to use wit and memory to make it past some of the more difficult scenes in the game.

There were some issues with pacing in the game, however. Through the first portion of LIMBO you’ll meet some characters that are alive, though they try to hinder your progress. You’ll make it past the areas in which these child-like characters make their home, but afterwards you’ll never see them again. The rest of the game is dead, as it’s in an industrial area rife with emptiness. I would have liked to see more interaction with these characters, but it could be purposely written that way by the developer.

That brings me to the final moments of the game. LIMBO’s last few minutes of gameplay gave me absolute goosebumps. It’s one of those endings that’s open to interpretation, and tons of players have their own ideas about what the game means and symbolizes. The ending was abrupt, but at the same time it was full of emotion. From a gamer standpoint it was disappointing, though from an artist standpoint it was brilliant.


I picked up LIMBO in the Humble Indie Bundle V, and I named my price. The game is well worth $15 (which it goes for normally), and though it’s a bit short – I beat it in about two hours of gameplay time – it offers players plenty of replayability for achievements and reinterpretations of the storyline. The game is, despite its few drawbacks, incredible. Especially since you can pay what you want for the bundle and get the game as a part of it, there’s no reason you shouldn’t pick LIMBO up and play through it for yourself. After all, I’m interested in what you think the ending to the game means.

The Good

  • amazing visuals
  • simple yet elegant gameplay
  • makes you think on your feet
  • excellent price through the Humble Bundle V

The Bad

  • pacing is a little off
  • ending was abrupt
  • open-end to the game can cause confusion which could upset players

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