Welcome fiends, to my horrifying backlog! Follow me as I attempt to whittle down my list of quirky indies, AAA titles, and games I seriously don’t remember buying. In the spirit of Halloween I thought I’d stick to games that were a bit on the eerie side. First up on the list, Limbo.
The first thing you notice in Limbo are the glowing eyes of our unfortunate protagonist, a young boy awakening to a world of darkness and despair. And death. So much death. A vague premise about finding your sister is all the information the game ever gives about your journey in this black and white nightmare, and with that you’re sent on your (not so) merry way. The world of Limbo is a perilous one, where giant spiders hide in the shadows, the locals enjoy setting up murderous booby traps, and where one wrong move can get your head lopped off in an instant. The look of the game is beautifully bleak, with dark silhouettes and decaying structures that paint a haunting portrait of lives once lived. A minimalist sound design accentuates the encounters with the various denizens of this foreboding world.
The game is a fairly straightforward platformer, interspersed with increasingly difficult puzzle solving. You jump, climb, and pull levers, narrowly escaping death at every turn. Limbo is a game of trial and error, rewarding your mistakes with death animations done with a macabre sense of glee. I found myself horrified and sometimes laughing at my character’s demise, while some puzzles had me groaning with frustration. The latter half of the game had me close to madness after spending way too long stuck on some of the obstacles. The elation at eventually at figuring out a puzzle or getting the timing right on a certain platforming section made it all worthwhile in the end. Clever design work made me appreciate the puzzles and the imaginative ways to go about solving them.
Limbo is a weird and wondrous game, packed with a dark whimsy that never outstayed its welcome. The journey you embark on is a curious one, the subtlety of its storytelling leaving you with something to ponder. It’s a short but sweet experience, a fact that was definitely appreciated as I go through my ever growing backlog. In a world of RPG fetch quests and online only multiplayer, playing this dark demented gem was a nice change of pace. Limbo’s dreamlike atmosphere and ominous tone left a lasting impression on me, its images ingrained in my mind like a creepy nightmare.