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3 Ratings: 4.7
A video game

Limbo is a puzzle-platform video game and the premiere title of independent Danish game developer Playdead Studios. The game was released in July 2010 on Xbox Live Arcade. Limbo is a 2D sidescroller, incorporating a physics system that governs environmental … see full wiki

Genre: Puzzle Adventure
Release Date: 21 July 2010
1 review about Limbo

Sadistic, Poignant

  • Jan 25, 2011
  • by
This was among my favorite games of 2010, largely because I had the opportunity to discuss the game with the developers at both PAX East and E3. It was enlightening to talk to them about silent films, particularly German Expressionism, and what influences it had on their work.

However, the games' themes seem to shift as it progresses. The little boy you play, for instance, starts off fighting off dangers that are very innately organic. The forest is a setting that is played well, and the subtle hints of footsteps, heartbeats, and natural sounds one would expect comprise the soundtrack to which you're listening. The game captures atmospheric engagement quite well, particularly through audio and visual cues.

The progression from these more organic to later industrial scenes has one middle part, which would be the conflict against other little boys. The feeling of Lord of the Flies is quite apparent, though the reason for conflict seems largely based around survival. You have no visible ways of communicating with them, and since the environment largely lies to you in its communication (part of the game is watching yourself die over and over, and the game does this on purpose), it largely makes one paranoid about trusting anything or anyone.

For me it read as a parallel of any story of a country after war, truth be told. You will have children who vie for their own power structures in what they perceive of the absence of their fathers. Particularly sons, as this game focuses on little boys. Pair this with the heavy industrial sounds and clanking of the later stages, and it seems that it tracks a journey through life. We largely face off organic and innate concerns early on, while most of our concerns as we continue are of man-made structures and devices.

Right before the ending, the scene that most struck me is when you are running through a stage that has electric saws everywhere, and their cacophony creates a very electronic industrial music setting, which is absolutely brilliant and points to the pure mechanics behind art, and how that neither diminishes the art nor the mechanics themselves.

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