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Limbo

Developer: Playdead Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
21 July 2010
Limbo - cover art
Glitchwave rating
3.39 / 5.0
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2,045 Ratings / 13 Reviews
#1,425 All-time
#55 for 2010
Searching for his sister, a boy enters Limbo.
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Limbo Special Edition
2012 Playdead Headup  
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Title
Sometimes a title card can tell you everything. Limbo’s white text is presented in large, blocky font, looking as if it were cut from cardboard, offset by a pure-black background — nothing else is on the screen. The game’s intentions are pretty clear: It wants to pretend video games existed during German Expressionism and that this is the gem we all missed.

The game itself, a 2-D puzzle platformer, keeps things as minimalistic as its black-and-white presentation. Limbo throws one trap or puzzle at a time, often driving you into lunacy because of the simplicity of it all. Sometimes it’s because of a puzzle that feels impossible, but most of the time it’s because of the game’s frequent deathtraps that serve only to ruin the pace and frustrate players. One can imagine they are an attempt at dark humor, with how violent the death animations are for what is ostensibly a prepubescent boy.

While the pacing and visual style might turn away most players, it’s hard not to admire the dedication to a unique vision that Playdead have brought with its debut game. At its best, Limbo casts a spell on you with its surreal ambiance and haunting setting.
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SUPER_Lonely_Panda 2016-04-06T16:41:26Z
2016-04-06T16:41:26Z
3.5
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Lots of style, not all that much substance to complement said style, mainly consisting of average platforming and simple puzzles. Said puzzles are not all too bad, but rely heavily on trial-and-error and death (I'd conjecture this is an artistic choice, but it doesn't make it any less frustrating) to determine what is actually required. The variety also works against it, I'd occasionally get stuck due to not grasping a puzzle mechanic that was introduced seemingly at random.

That criticism actually applies to a lot of Limbo, its general inconsistency. The first half starts by exploring the unfriendly, wooded outside world, and at the second half you end up in an abandoned, functioning factory. The first half has you avoiding spike pits and pools of water by climbing trees or moving wooden boxes, the second half has you using a myriad of switches to manipulate electricity and gravity - and given how wonkily the game handles this, there's a sense of the game having "jumped the shark".

I'm glad that the "indie game explosion" happened, and perhaps Limbo contributed towards it (?), but detached from that context I don't see the hype.
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Jackrb 2024-02-03T14:55:50Z
2024-02-03T14:55:50Z
2.0
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This is a rather innovative 2d platformer which puts emphasis on puzzle solving rather than traditional platforming, indeed this feels like a callback to games like Oddworld rather than traditional platformers such as Mario or sonic. It's just a shame it's over before it really begins, or we'd have one if the best games in modern media on our hands.

The best element by far is the aesthetics, it really does remind me of Oddworld as it uses macabre imagery to bring to life the forbidding environments it has to offer. I would say it does a better job at tension than the Oddworld franchise thanks to inspired lighting and sound effects used in each level. Two things Oddworld has over this game is story and characters as the silent protagonist troupe is a bit tiresome at this point and his journey is far more exhilarating than his destination which is all I can really say about the games lore without spoilers. It's clear your meant to insert yourself into the environment when playing which I've never been particularly a fan of in gaming as I prefer being the puppet master of a well-established character rather than imagining myself in a games environment. Besides that, I have very few complaints here, the challenge is tough but fair and I adore the aesthetics on display.

It's another victory for modern indie gaming, it may not have the gloss of a AAA title, but that's not really necessary when you have a game this innovative.
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Foxylover92 2021-07-22T11:05:23Z
2021-07-22T11:05:23Z
4.0
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Limbo is a very lucky game.

In 2010, indie games were just barely starting to become relevant. With Steam starting to become something more than borderline malware, and Microsoft going all-in on their Xbox Live Arcade project, the market for potential microbudget games has never been greater, and the barriers of entry have never been lower. We've seen some solitary indie games find success in the past (e.g. Braid), but 2010 is unquestionably the year the segment really started to blow up.

At the time, competition was still relatively low. There were still some barriers devs had to pass (e.g. Greenlight didn't exist yet), and most devs were simply late to hop onto the train - for a brief period, there was a time where the demand for indie games severely outpaced the supply. You could've released literally anything at the time, and it would have been a hit.

Some of these hits eventually turned into celebrated classic. It's impossible to overstate just how much Super Meat Boy did for the modern platformer genre, and Amnesia still remains a trailblazer in horror video games.

Some, on other hand, were forgotten. They're games that were simply not that good, and only celebrated at the time because there was little else to play. Remember Game Dev Story? Exactly.

Limbo, by all means, should've been part of the former group. And yet, through sheer persistence (mostly consisting of releasing the game on every single platform and discounting it to 50c multiple times), it ended up in the former. A big mistake!

Everything in Limbo is just so mediocre. The graphics look really cool for the first twenty minutes or so, and then they start to bore you - and Limbo never does anything big with them, the game has two environments and that's it. It's a visually boring game, and the artstyle eventually starts accentuating that.

The puzzles are mostly easy, and frequently frustrating. Why does a puzzle platformer have like twenty ultra-precise timing puzzles? Near the 50% mark or so, the game straight up turns into a precision platformer - and boy, the foundations of that game are really not equipped to handle that. I find it difficult to recall gaming experiences more frustrating than the "you must grab the ledge, but you can't climb up" part; the entire section just perfectly summarizes the "fighting against the controls" problem that plagued the game so much.

Limbo has a story, but who even cares. It's supposed to be "mysterious", but the devs said so little that it's difficult to even imagine anything interesting happening behind the scenes. There's a guy, and - well, this site has some spoiler guidelines I still don't quote understand, but trust me, it's very banal.

All in all, the success of the game is nearly entirely the product of the environment it was released in, combined with the aggressive porting/pricing policy of its publishers. Unless you're really into 2010, I recmmend skipping this one. Just play Inside instead.
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mdvs 2023-10-13T18:18:05Z
2023-10-13T18:18:05Z
2.0
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Beautiful art style, but the game doesn't really do much with it. It's all very smooth and not unpleasant, but the puzzles are mostly shallow and there's no time for the atmosphere or the mechanics to be developed in any way.
Somehow it manages to feel too refined, in the sense that the need to preserve the feel of the game prevents the gameplay from being developed, and at the same time there are way too many attempts at different kinds of puzzles and mechanics so the result is kind of scattered.
I don't know, it's not bad, but it feels like it's less than the sum of its parts.
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kid_for_today 2023-09-02T12:25:44Z
2023-09-02T12:25:44Z
1.0
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First half of Limbo is a masterpiece. The game carefully immerses the player in the atmosphere of loneliness through puzzles revealing the narrative and haunting art design. Meanings of Limbo are well readable and at that moment it seems like the game is going to achieve quality of Journey.
However, in the second half, developers decided to throw all the "plot" out of the puzzles and put the gamer in some random factory to get through. And even though the puzzles are very good (one of them forced me to check the walkthrough, which hasn't happened in a long time), there is nothing between them. In the end, you literally get tired of the game.
I am disappointed.
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GreenDe 2022-01-11T23:24:18Z
2022-01-11T23:24:18Z
2.5
1
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Mentally finished
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Catalog

mrmoptop2 Limbo 2024-04-24T01:35:34Z
Windows / Mac / Linux/Unix
2024-04-24T01:35:34Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Outbound Limbo 2024-04-23T22:01:48Z
2024-04-23T22:01:48Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Foppishcrow Limbo 2024-04-23T18:30:03Z
2024-04-23T18:30:03Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
TollGustav Limbo 2024-04-23T16:09:05Z
2024-04-23T16:09:05Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
orchidcnr Limbo 2024-04-22T22:31:01Z
Windows / Mac / Linux/Unix
2024-04-22T22:31:01Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
mrmoptop2 Limbo 2024-04-21T17:32:08Z
Xbox 360
2024-04-21T17:32:08Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
diewl32 Limbo 2024-04-19T23:38:53Z
2024-04-19T23:38:53Z
2.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
dannyscorps_chiar_el Limbo 2024-04-19T22:46:12Z
2024-04-19T22:46:12Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Anxhir Limbo 2024-04-17T19:51:47Z
2024-04-17T19:51:47Z
3.5
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
castlejim27 Limbo 2024-04-16T22:08:58Z
2024-04-16T22:08:58Z
4.5
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
bluejaysfan99 Limbo 2024-04-16T21:00:19Z
2024-04-16T21:00:19Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
WalluWaan Limbo 2024-04-15T23:10:00Z
2024-04-15T23:10:00Z
5.7 /10
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Player modes
Single-player
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  • Previous comments (9) Loading...
  • Miry 2021-11-15 21:30:14.82095+00
    the ending broke me.
    reply
    • ... 2021-12-02 01:35:15.07838+00
      ba dum tss
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  • phoenix5511 2022-07-09 17:26:36.185109+00
    Its funny someone mentioned Tim Hecker in these comments, my favourite artist of all time and this game is also a 10/10. But I don't think it's like Radio Amor.. It's more Industrial/ Dark Ambient for me. Maybe Deathprod the game? loll
    reply
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  • eratic_specialist 2023-07-26 15:25:11.858334+00
    aesthetically pleasing with simple mechanics and gameplay that got overhyped as an artistic masterpiece just cuz it looks good and its an indie
    ...entertaining enough to play
    reply
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  • elyc 2024-04-07 07:01:05.895449+00
    Very enjoyable sound design and atmosphere, you use your intuition and hearing a lot, especially in that completely dark place before the giant mosquito area.
    reply
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  • anahera 2024-04-24 06:28:07.231215+00
    great aesthetic and the trial and error gameplay is very fun for me but jesus this is so SLOW
    i get that it's supposed to be for atmospheric purposes but when you're dying quite often to unpredictable things it's not fun to have to wait like 15 seconds for the death animation and respawn like dude i want to get over it quickly
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