LIMBO: A Video Game Explores Living With Loss And More!

After death, what is there to do? In literature, movies, and even philosophy, the subject has been broached, and video games are no exception to the rule.

Contrary to popular belief, LIMBO is not one of those games. The short, downloadable Xbox 360 game looks to dwell in the afterlife—and brilliantly so—with scary denizens, a black-and-white style, the absence of conversation, and a balance between darkness and brightness.

Even so, the most fascinating aspect of the Danish title is its non-verbal, non-musical, non-concrete storytelling approach to exploring the difficulties of coping with loss.

In LIMBO, you are thrown into a realm of adventure and puzzle-solving in which you must discover your meaning.

It begins with a black-and-white image of a child’s silhouette waking up in a world of shades of grey. For starters, there’s no story to get gamers going; instead, they’re met with forests, lakes, and caves, all portrayed with shimmering particle effects as if LIMBO’s entire landscape had been covered in fresh ash.

The noises are as simple as the boy’s feet slogging along grass, dirt, and hard metal, and the sound direction is far more colorful and organic than the fuzzed-out visuals would lead you to believe, despite the distorted appearance.

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Ingenuity in Playdead Studio’s puzzles comes from the fact that players can only run, jump, and grasp particular things.

Spoilers are waiting to be discovered in every “a-ha” moment. Players who have played Braid may draw comparisons between LIMBO and that game;

nevertheless, LIMBO avoids puzzle gimmicks in favor of requiring players to evaluate every aspect of the minimal set as a means of progress.

There are many occasions in games where seemingly easy puzzles reveal themselves to be more complex than they appear, and these moments will be a part of gaming’s lexicon for many years to come, alongside the likes of Metal Gear Solid and Shadow of the Colossus.

This is a shame because the puzzles in LIMBO are great and the game doesn’t wear out its welcome with time-travel modifications or a single, restricted item. It can run as little as four to five hours in the initial playthrough.

LIMBO could have gone on for another half-hour or so before anyone became bored. Despite the black-and-white shine, each location is stark and memorable as a focused experience, both in appearance and in puzzles that prove familiar and intriguing even on a second viewing.

Some locations shine when you impose an enormous change in the globe, like changing the weather or shutting down a decaying hotel.

Limbo Game

To depict a boy searching for a lost sibling who is desperate, calm, and eager to continue left-to-right without any storyline or direct provocation, this game’s stark shortness is exactly what the player is looking for.

That’s why we don’t ask any questions. The only reason we do this is that we are forced to. The game’s wordless inspiration,

and the game’s overt tribute to it rises above the game’s astounding qualities—its beauty, its economy of sound, its riddles, its fluid control, even its never-too-hard difficulty—to make this 2010’s best video game.

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