LIMBO intrigued me the second I heard about it. A glimpse at a single noir screen shot and I was pretty much sold on the idea. I instantly fell in love with this little Arcade gem because it really did excite my love of the morbid and creepy. At 1200MSP it’s definitely a hefty price to pay for such a short game which is easily completed in 4 hours, but I certainly do not regret spending my time and money on it.
LIMBO is a game that focuses heavily on puzzle solving, and not characterisation or emotive game play. You still cannot help but feel emotionally involved with the young boys cause though. Every time he dies a gruesome death at the hands of a vastly oversized spider, or is maimed by a flying bear trap, you can’t help but cringe and feel some remorse for him. The poor thing is only trying to find his sister.
I would like to take this opportunity to talk about my thoughts and feelings on the ending of LIMBO though, not the gameplay or processes. There are going to be huge spoilers from this point on, so if you haven’t finished the game, or are intending to play it at some point, close this page down now.
I have seen mixed reviews about the ending to the game, and a multitude of theories about what really happened. My theory is this; the boy and his sister are stuck in ‘Limbo’ with no escape. The ending of the game to me acted as a circular narrative, almost like a Tarantino style film. Falling through the glass at the end and arriving at the point you were at when you first started the game signifies to me a never ending circle. Whether the boy will realise that he is doing the same things over and over again now that he has found his sister is something that I cannot answer. It also appears to me that his sister perhaps started elsewhere in LIMBO, seeking out her brother in a similar way. With this in mind, both the boy and his sister must of course be dead, or at least battling to stay alive. LIMBO may even be a test to see how much they desire to live.
The other children that you saw along the way may be others who have met a similar fate to you and your sibling, but have perhaps lost their souls by travelling through Limbo for so long. They say that the eyes are an open door to the soul, and these other children that you see are merely dark shapes with no eyes and no souls to speak of. At the end of the game, the character who we assume to be the boys sister also appears to have no eyes, so does this mean it is too late for her to be saved and the boy took too long in his journey to find her?
To me, LIMBO is a huge success for reasons that it really shouldn’t be. The main character is nameless and also faceless. There should be no emotional bond between you, but somehow there is. Even though the puzzles can be frustrating, they are also extremely rewarding and sometimes enjoyable. When you finally reach the end of the game, you will either be left bitterly disappointed with how things end (or don’t end) or you will be pleasantly surprised with the clever yet simplistic way that PlayDead have left the entire game open ended for the players personal interpretations.
I suppose LIMBO is a little bit like Marmite. You will either love it or hate it. I love Marmite, and I loved LIMBO.