It’s been eight years since Playdead as one of the independent developers made one of the best indie games ever known for its dark yet ambiguous atmosphere, “LIMBO.” In addition to receiving many awards, “LIMBO” became one of the ‘games of the year’ as well as the ‘best indie game’ in 2010, this game is also one that’s considered as a masterpiece from all aspects both in terms of visuals, music, mood, atmosphere, and gameplay. There’s not much anything to explain this game since this is another time I play this game again. We need at least two people sitting on the couch if you want to solve puzzle after puzzle but actually, one person is enough. There is no explanation, no dialogue, no story, no anything to do with this game. All you have to do is keep going searching for a world full of limbo with no limits and a world mixes with reality and dreams.
According to the dictionary, limbo can be interpreted as two things. The first is to sort out Christian’s view that the limbo is the supposed abode of the souls of unbaptized infants and of the just who died before Christ’s coming. The second, limbo is an uncertain period of awaiting a decision or resolution and an intermediate state or condition. There are so many views that interpret such a term. In my opinion, limbo is a world without limits. Just like from “Inception” movie, a world where you can make your own world or just like “The Matrix” or even “Minecraft.” In short, there is no clear story from this game. You start with… nothing. You just play as a small child who wakes up in a dark forest. There is no tutorial, no how to play, no interface or bright light, you just start the game from there. You are just a player who, of course, is just like a child in the game. You wake up in a situation you don’t understand in a state of confusion.
Indeed, “LIMBO” is a play experience which doesn’t feel like other video games where there is a tutorial, prologue, or interface. The player was tasked with guiding this little boy through a plain of dark forests in order to reach the final destination. As you play as a child who scours the forest, the background isn’t just at there but it’s full of many oddities in this game. Apart from being in a forest, you will be in a place like a ruined industrial work, meeting giant spiders, meeting tribes who wanna kill you, and being in a location where the situation will be even more complicated like a place that spin slowly. Now, this is kind of like “Inception.”
As one of the indie game fans, “LIMBO” feels different from other indie games. It’s the types of ‘trial and error’ games where there are lots of puzzles that are at least self-explanatory but you sometimes always get the twist. Like for example, a bear trap that suddenly comes towards you, you can avoid it but turns out there is another bear trap which appears from behind. In addition to the puzzles which seem quite a hypocrite, the game isn’t too memorable yet too annoying but you keep wondering and keep exploring over and over again. A variety of puzzles like you have to push a trolley, a magnet that draws a box with reverses gravity and various things. The game doesn’t give you rules or tips for the puzzles but if you really want to, it’s better to just watch the walkthrough. On the other hand, the atmosphere of the game wouldn’t be too conspicuous compared to know more about itself.
These puzzles can be said to be diverse, difficult, but so creative. There are times when you have to face enemies like giant spiders or there are times when you face the maniac tribes. You don’t use weapons even if you don’t have one but you have to be able to think about how to defeat it. You should try to use timings to beat the spider, using various kinds of traps, and anything. In addition, the puzzle isn’t impossible but its characteristic makes sense but on the other hand, you need a lot of patience to do that. “LIMBO” is also not too skeptical when talking about dying hundreds of times in this game. Therefore, games like this are referred to as ‘trial and error’ where you have to be able to follow linearly first so you can see if something will turn you off then the second trial you can avoid it. The game is solid in this regard but always shows something diverse.
A dark atmosphere is something which creates another impression of this game. So is the secret level. The secret level is unlocked when you have managed to find all hidden eggs hidden in various kinds of chapters. I would rather recommend when you’ve finished this game because you can play this game again from the chapter you want to select from the menu. The eggs also hide in improper places so you should be able to explore every corner of each level. Sometimes, puzzles are also needed in order to reach these eggs in a slightly difficult range. If you have found it, then you have succeeded in unlocking the secret level. The secret level is one that makes the game feel more impossible because this level relies more on sound than visual. So, only a few lights when playing at this level. You have to use a headset and rely on your hearing ability to get past various obstacles in a very dark circumstance.
This game also doesn’t have a lot of music. It’s just the sound effects like a buzzsaw, the sound of people walking, or moving traps. Sometimes, there is some surprise music when there is a segment that suddenly appears like a tribe suicide himself or the spider. “LIMBO” also doesn’t have too many features which exist besides the secret level or just unlock all the achievements. There is a leaderboard if you want to see how far your game progresses and compare it with other players. The game also uses clear color gradations besides using only a black and white pattern. Apart from which, the game seems a bit 3D even though this is a 2D side-scrolling game.
“LIMBO” is a fantastic achievement because there are only a few video games that present something original but perfect. It’s not about what makes this game so realistic but it’s the trigger that succeeded in generating various kinds of theories that will definitely be what actually happened in this game. If you are the type of person who likes fan theory, this game is a great recommendation. It has an atmosphere that is so dark and gloomy, but “LIMBO” is a puzzle game that is so ‘magical’ and it’s even something that exceeds it. Simple, it’s unique and creative.
5 out of 5 stars.