Trying Out: Limbo

Actually, I’ve played through this before, but on PC. I happened to come across it in the AppStore, so I decided to try it out again. It isn’t exactly new (it was published five years ago), but since it was done by a small indie studio, many might not have heard of it (although it did apparently sell really well on some platforms).

Limbo is a sidescroller about a buy who wakes up in some dark place. Nothing is explained, you just need to find out for yourself.

Our character is just a silhuette with bright, glowing eyes in a very dark landscape

Our character is just a silhuette with bright, glowing eyes in a very dark landscape

Apparently, based on the name, this is Limbo, a place where your soul goes if you haven’t really done anything bad enough to go to hell, but haven’t really earned your way into heaven either. I’m not quite in on Catholic theology, but I’m guessing getting baptized would be enough.

Of course, none of this is ever discussed in the game. Its a platformer and those deeper ideas just don’t matter. Or they have just as much meaning as you want to inject into it yourself. The game does do a pretty good job of making you feel alone, when the few other people you meet here run away from you and then try to kill you without saying a word.

I don’t usually play platformers, so I can’t really compare this to the genre as a whole, but I did find this interesting. I’m not even sure it has that much in common with most platformers, as its more about puzzles than dodging or fighting enemies. The puzzles aren’t overly complicated and are actually fairly easy. Some of the them do have that annoying feature where I know exactly what to do and I’m actually right, but I just seem to be unable to execute the plan, because I don’t time something quite right, which of course pushes me back to the previous save point, which can sometimes be pretty far away. This is especially frustrating when you fail the final step of a plan, where the previous steps were hard to get right.

Which actually makes this feel more like a hell. The things you encounter also support this idea. Sure, the other children in this world uphold the idea of Limbo, but the giant spiders and the gigantic, complicated machines governing the landscape make this feel like a pretty hopeless game.

Its not a long game. You could probably play through the whole thing in one sitting if you aren’t as clumsy with the timing as I am. I did like the PC version more, or rather the controls. On iPhone I keep having my finger in a place I would much rather see, which is at times awkward. Also, the phone does have the limitations of a small screen and its harder to immerse onself in a world that doesn’t cover most of your vision.

As evidenced by the fact that I decided to rebuy this on another platform, I like the game. Despite the user interface limitations and its gloomy themes, its a game you can pick up and put down easily. It doesn’t require me to schedule playing it. On the other hand, it doesn’t have enough content to hold up for an extended period of time either, if that’s what you are looking for.

The ending is quite abrupt. I’m not sure if this is designed, but I wasn’t sure what was happening. I won’t go into details here, but let’s just say I was expecting a clearer sign of having reached the end of the game.

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