LIMBO: The Mysterious Void

Arvin Relleve
Oct 22, 2017 · 4 min read

Limbo is an interactive thought-inducing puzzle-platform game that plunges its audience into a dark, ominous universe. The user plays as a little boy who enters Limbo in hopes of finding his sister. The game offers a unique experience to the audience as there are no instructions, no dialogue and no explanations. Players are left to discover the game mechanics and interpret the story based on what they witness as they progress through the game.

Created by the developers of Playdead

The universe of Limbo showcases a minimalistic design, crafting the graphics in a greyscale fashion with an overlay of grain in conjunction with minimal ambient sounds playing in the background. The cohesion of the visual and auditory components works together to exhibit a mysterious and haunting atmosphere.

Limbo is offered in a variety of platforms including videogame consoles, digital distribution software on computers, and through mobile app stores on IOS and android devices. In terms of accessibility to the game, Limbo sells for $5.49 on the app store which is a fair price considering the length of the game. My personal user experience derives from an IOS device perspective.

The game begins with a boy awakening in the middle of a forest. Throughout his journey, he encounters other human figures who either try to kill him or prevent him from reaching the female character. After progressing through a variety of obstacles along the way, the scenery of the environment transitions from the forest into a collapsing urban city. The conclusion of the boy’s journey results in him being thrown through a glass surface only to be to back in the forest where he started. After walking a few steps forward, he encounters a girl who stands up startled, with the story unexpectedly ending.

Upon first playing the game, I was surprised to notice that there were no descriptions and no guidelines. Due to fact that no names were provided, I was unaware of who I was playing and the name of the girl I was pursuing. However, I found the mystery of all of it to be very intriguing. I was able to quickly pick up on the functionality of the boy, his physical limits, and his capabilities. The various puzzle stages that were presented in the game provided the opportunity to learn which objects were possible to interact with. The only issues that impeded my gameplay were the swiping motions that were needed to be executed in order to mobilize the character. In order to move left or right, the user must perform a swiping motion and hold their finger in the intended direction for the duration of the movement. To perform a jump, the user must execute the same action in an upward diagonal or vertical direction. Performing these actions within the bottom area of your IOS device may trigger the control center screen. These abrupt interruptions maybe detrimental during crucial moments within the game. Having said that, omitting the implementation of instructions for game mechanics eliminates one more step needed to understand how to play. Limbo is a great representation that showcases the user’s ability to swiftly pick up simple functions without help from the creators.

“Dark, disturbing, yet eerily beautiful, Limbo is a world that deserves to be explored.”- Joystiq

The narrative of Limbo is delivered from a unique position as the majority of its elements remain a mystery. The only details that the developers provide the audience is of a boy entering Limbo in search of his sister. Much of the game revolves around the user discovering aspects of the game themselves, mechanics and the narrative included. Rather than pushing the audience away with little to no information about the world of Limbo, the creators use that absence in order to draw the audience in. The game not only engages the mental capacity of its users corresponding to the puzzles, but also challenges their ability to theorize about the events of the game in relation to the narrative. The story of Limbo concludes in an open-ended manner with much to be interpreted based on the user’s personal perspective. The appeal to the game doesn’t reside in understanding what exactly happened but rather in not knowing. Providing users with the freedom to tether different segments of Limbo to construct an in-depth conclusion signifies the gravity of the bigger picture that Limbo is able to portray.

Playdead caters Limbo as a special gaming experience through a cohesive method, merging its artistic components to grant the user to deliver the final conclusion.