Gamebytes and Bots
Gamebytes and Bots
Limbo screenshot
Limbo screenshot
Limbo screenshot
Puzzle, Platform

LIMBO: July 2010
GENRE: Indie, Side Scroller
MODES: Single-player
STEAM RATING: Very Positive


LIMBO: July 2010
GENRE: Indie, Side Scroller
MODES: Single-player
STEAM RATING: Very Positive

REVIEW: Played Oct 2016
REVIEW: Played Oct 2016

If you're a gamer and haven't heard of Limbo, you've been living under a rock. Initially released in 2010 as a one year exclusive on Xbox Live Arcade, it received glowing critical acclaim, which was emulated once it was also released for Playstation 3 and Windows.

Limbo is an Indie 2D side scroller with a very dark theme. It's about a nameless boy who awakens to find himself on the edge of hell. Apparently, he is looking for his sister, although, the only way you know this is to read reviews. The game itself does not explain any story element. The atmosphere is pretty bleak and the dark visuals hide potentially fatal traps.

Limbo screenshot

The puzzles can be quite complex, requiring several steps or even back-tracking. Interaction is very simple and limited. You can move, jump, and grab some items. You cannot jump very high, so this requires finding ways around this. There's also a mechanic that turns you into a zombie with no control over your direction and can have you walking into buzz saws or falling off edges to instant death.

Gameplay isn't all platforming. There are a lot of physics involved as well and puzzles make up the bulk of the game. The graphics are all done in silhouette and audio is minimal. The game is also quite short and has no real replay value except for achievement hunting. After you beat the game, you can go back into chapters to find the hidden eggs. Chapters with eggs: Steam. You will need all of the eggs to access the secret level. Secret Level: Steam

The game is really quite hard in some ways and you need to put on your thinking cap. It also suffers from those dead jumping off spots where you need to find the active zone or will otherwise just plummet to your death. And death is not pretty in this game. Animations show the boy being killed in various gruesome ways. However, death is used as the teacher as it can happen quite suddenly and without warning. Fortunately the game saves wherever you die of quit.

In playing this six years after the fact, one has to ask why this game became so well-known? The game has no obvious story and the graphics are rendered in greyscale. What is quite different about Limbo is that it's a blank canvas upon which the player's imagination can write. Everything is conveyed by atmospheric suggestion only. It's up to you to decide what the boy's goal is and what he might be feeling. Whether you are going to like it will largely depend on whether the boy's plight speaks to you in any way that inspires deep or meaningful cogitation. In fact the meaning behind Limbo is so obtuse that some fans have made it a mission to scour the game for any clues. Most believe that the boy is dead and has entered Limbo to find his sister. Some have gone so far as to actually posit a background story that is in no way indicated by the game itself. In that way, the game becomes more than just a game to its fans and maybe that's the genius behind this game. It's a mystery that engages the imagination.

To those who liked the game, they see it as a piece of art that is mysteriously beautiful and full of atmosphere. But not everyone does see it that way. Although most agree that the art direction is good, some find that the inability to avoid death and the lack of story is frustrating and boring.

Although all games are somewhat subject to the players experience, Limbo is doubly so as it requires the level of imagination you are willing to overlay onto the character. Other than that, the puzzles have simple enough concepts, but which are not always easy to execute at first try.

Limbo was given away free for a short time to promote Playdead's new game Inside, which is how I acquired it.

Game Issues Experienced

If the game won't start, disable the Steam overlay.

For keyboard and mouse players, you may have to fiddle around in the settings.txt file to re-map keys.

Development Note

The Danish company, Playdead, was founded in 2006 to develop Limbo. They initially used private funds and government grants to support the project. As they otained larger investment, the team grew to eight employess plus freelance workers. After the success of Limbo, they were able to re-acquire the company to become totally independent.

The same year Limbo was released, they began work on Inside, which is a 2.5D game using monochromatic graphics and considered a spiritual successor to Limbo.

Limbo received very high critical scores although it was critcized for its price to short length ratio. Inside, released in 2016, also drew high critical acclaim and received many gaming awards. However, once again, the game is short and the story is only inferred rather than spelled out.

Playdead is currently working on a new game.

NOTE: For the vast majority of PC games, many digital distributors will offer "Online" CD keys that can be added to your Steam Library
Amazon is a boxed special edition
Other games in series:   None
  • Genre: Puzzle, Platform, 2D
  • Developer(s): Playdead
  • Publisher(s): Playdead, Microsoft
  • Platforms: Microsoft Windows, other
  • Release: July 2010
  • Mode(s): Single-player
  • Media: Download, Optical Disc
  • DLC Available: No
  • OS: Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7
  • CPU: 2 GHz
  • RAM: 512MB
  • Hard Drive: 150MB free space
  • Video: 5 years or younger. Integrated cards may not work
  • Sound: DirectX 9.0c compliant
  • Shader Model: 3
  • Input for PC: Keyboard & Mouse, Controller
  • DRM: Steam or Drm-free
NOTE: Minimum requirements are those officially published at the time of the game's release.
Official Site - Playdead   Support
Achievements: Steam Community
Patches: Steam Auto Update
Mods: None
To indicate what kind of performance you may get, compare your specs to the system this game was played on. You can also try  Can You Run It
  • Version:  Steam Download
  • OS:  Windows 7 SP1
  • CPU:  Intel Core i5-3570K 3.40GHz
  • Ram:  8GB
  • Disk Drive:  DVD/CD
  • Video:  ATI Radeon HD 7870 2GB
  • Shader Model:  5
  • DirectX:  11
  • Resolution:  1650 x 1050
  • Input:  Keyboard & Mouse
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