I just finished Limbo last night.

The Braid Connection

This game is obviously being compared to Braid; simply typing “Limbo Braid” into Google demonstrates the perceived connection.  I suppose such a comparison is legitimate to the extent that any puzzle platformer game can be compared to Braid.  To be honest, I hate that I am participating in the comparison, but I think it’s unavoidable.

So let me get this part out of the way quickly by saying that this game isn’t like Braid at all.

Braid’s time control mechanism was very similar to the control over your internet browser; you can go back and forth all you like, but once you make a new choice you can only go back; the “forward button” will not return you to any of the other folds of time.  The joy of Braid stemmed from the way it forced you to change your thought process.

The Substance of Style

Limbo was quite difference.  The actual puzzles were not particularly innovative; I had seen puzzles like those in the past.  Rather, Limbo’s greatness was due to its style and atmosphere.

The game’s black and white, cloudy world gives the player a sense of desolation and sorrow.  One would think the silhouette based animations would be simplistic, but the horror of failure in the game’s “trial and death” approach was quite vivid.  Perhaps it was the simplicity, or my own experience as a father, that makes it so disturbing.

Most games encourage success, and allow us to see failure as path to succcess.  Limbo, on the other hand, trained me to hate failure, and made me reluctant to use it as a path to success.

The Dim Sum Meal

I hear a lot of complaints about the “length to price ratio,” but I don’t think those reviewers have taken into account the replay value of the games.  If a game takes 3-4 hours to complete, but inspires the player to go back and try it a second or third time, those 3-4 hours can suddenly turn into 10+ hours.

It’s clear that a lot of time went into communicating the puzzles to the players and preparing them to “see” the solutions through progressive training puzzles.  Though I didn’t find most of the puzzles to be “new,” the limitations of the graphics forced me to be more attentive as I played.  That’s a testament to good game design; many games try to force players to be attentive, but few actually make them want to be more attentive.


If you like puzzle platfomers and/or minimalist games, then you should buy Limbo.  It is a wonderful, eye-opening experience that combines emotional content with intellectual puzzle play.