When it comes to indie games, there are tons of studios that have made a name for themselves with a single project and left a mark on the industry. One such studio goes by the name of PlayDead, which simply changed the indie game landscape by releasing its first-ever project back in 2010. What made this game so special, though? The answer may differ based on who you ask, but they’ll all agree that this game is a masterpiece. Let’s take a look at the said game, and I must say before I start, I’ll keep this one rather short as it’s a case of seeing for yourself, and frankly, there isn’t a lot to say. Today’s Game: “Limbo.”
What Is ‘Limbo’?
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “Limbo”? An unending hell? An endless void? A place with no shortage of paths, all of which lead nowhere? On principle, all of that describes the word and the game “Limbo” pretty well.
“Limbo” is a 2D platformer of sorts where you play as a boy who is looking for his sister. The boy wakes up at the edge of hell, which happens to be in the middle of the forest, and that pretty much sums up the game, and I can practically end this article here without harming the integrity of the game, but it’s the way in which it’s delivered that we need to talk about for a bit. “Limbo,” at least back in the day, was unlike any other platformer that ever came and was simple in its nature but complex in the undertones. I am not going to get into the message it was trying to convey or how it handled its themes, as all of that is a matter of your own perception, so let’s skip that.
“Limbo” takes you on a journey through the unknown as you look for your sister and move through challenging and deadly environments. There’s nothing special about the gameplay here, as it features levels you traverse through, mild puzzles you solve, and a handful of deadly enemies or creatures you run away from, that’s it. What makes all of that special is the somber tone in which it’s presented and the way it uses color, or lack thereof, to its advantage. The entire game, from beginning to end, is presented in monochrome, and that does so much for it. The atmosphere is unsettling and will creep you out, and the game isn’t even in the horror genre. There are incredibly light musical notes, and cues peppered throughout that do a fantastic job of setting up an eerie tone. Most of the time, all you’ll be hearing are the thumping footsteps of the boy as he runs through the game’s environment. This also should go without saying, but I am mentioning it in case you didn’t catch that: the game has no dialogues at all.
The creatures you will meet throughout this game can only be described as ghastly and menacing. You may have already seen it in the game’s promotion material and art, but take the spider, for instance. a simple eight-legged arthropod that we spot in our very own households, and yet here in “Limbo,” it’s stuff straight from your nightmares. All of that is not only because of its size but also because of how they showcased and presented it. Dread is all I can say when I think about the spider, and it’s just one of the creatures that will haunt you throughout the game. Imagine what the others contains.
When it comes to the presentation department, “Limbo” is incredible, and I don’t think there exists a word of appreciation that would do it justice. There’s not a lot that can be said about this game as it’s just as I described and is just that simple and straightforward, but don’t let that stop you from experiencing this magnum opus as it truly is one of a kind and is incredible.
That’s “Limbo” in a nutshell. A gorgeous, moody, and atmospheric 2D platformer/puzzle game that tells an interesting and thought-provoking narrative without saying anything. It’s brilliant and memorable and is sure to leave you in awe, thanks to its world and its presentation.
Should You Play ‘Limbo’?
I made that part clear, didn’t I? Go play this game and see for yourself what makes it so commendable. It’s hard to describe the feeling you’ll get after playing this game, but once you do, you’ll know exactly what I mean, and you’ll appreciate this incredible work of art even more.
It’s a short journey that you’ll complete in under 3–4 hours easily, and the same can be said for all of its achievements. There’s one achievement that is somewhat painful and asks you to beat the game without dying more than five times—a good challenge.
“Limbo” is available for $9.99 for the Xbox and PlayStation consoles, the Nintendo Switch, the PC, and also on mobile devices through the Google Play and Apple App stores. I am sure that I didn’t do the game justice by talking about it so briefly, but trust me, you’ll know what I am talking about once you play it for yourself. This one is truly an odd masterpiece, and it is a testament to how greatness can also come from simplicity and doesn’t always have to be complex.