I finally played Limbo, about 4 years too late. For those of you who haven’t played it, it’s a great game. The gameplay isn’t anything spectacular, its your normal platforming with a few enemies, with the background being your main enemy and form of death. Its got its generic puzzles here and there, and the game itself took me two hours and a half to complete, mainly because I was becoming impatient to finish it. Its the story, well, the lack of, that really makes Limbo stand out.
The game is setting is full of shadow silhouette with your character being the only real “alive” being in this world. Your character has glowing eyes which sets you apart from other human kids you encounter – oh ya your a kid to. A kid who drowns, gets shot and cut down to pieces, and impaled like a wiener roast. The game is gory despite the lack of graphic and like the larger portion of the game, it’s all left to your imagination. The story starts off in the woods, with a spider being your first real form of danger. From there you face other children, traps, puzzles, and gravity itself trying to bring death to you. I’ll stop right there because this game has no dialogue so the more gameplay I ruin, the more of the game “story” I ruin for you. Which leads me to my next point.
The games beginning and ending like most of the game is left up for interpretation. My only complaint is the fact that you’re left feeling a little empty and wondering what just happened. Going deeper into the story though, as you play each setting reveals a piece of the story that I’m sure the developers wanted you to find out and interpret yourself. About 6 years ago, I played a game called Braid, much like this one had a puzzle, no dialogue and no story. All of it was left for interpretation until the end. This game is different though, it leaves you with no clue as to what the meaning of the ending is. The best kind of stories – and in the some cases the worst – are the ones that left you as the author determine the ending. At times I have felt that when I complete a game, the ending I choose for it, is better than the ending that would have been given to me by the author or developer. It allows you to live out the fantasy ending you come up with, which in turn can leave you satisfied or disappointed. In this case for LIMBO, I wish there was something more. Stories are allowed to not have an ending, in the end the author is the one dictating where this story is going. The way it ends though, it leaves you feeling a little hollow and unfulfilled and this makes me a little bitter towards the ending. For the developer to think that the lack of this much story is alright leaves me feeling a little cheated. All this is subjective though, because the story must be in the game if I look deep enough, and in some cases I got it. I understood the meaning of a lot of the innuendos, but having no confirmation of what happened is what leaves me feeling empty. In some cases as the player the only reason you put up with the frustration, joy, or masochistic journey to the ending of a game, is to see the story until the end. The lack of story isn’t a bad idea when there are ways to find it and give yourself some context. But having no context and expected to understand the circumstances around your main character’s ending, is a bit frustrating, but effective. These stories and video games are meant to be thought out long after you turn your game off.
In the end I would recommend LIMBO. It’s a great platform game, that without saying anything describes so much. This game pushes your imagination and despite the lack of story manages to make you feel like you’ve been through the journey with the main character ( he has no name of course.) It left me thinking long into the night of what the ending might mean, and in the end I gave it my own. Play it yourselves and let me know what you guys think of the ending.
Thank you for reading!