It takes a lot for a game to scare someone from a non-first person perspective. It’s easy to immerse yourself in a first person game, as you can quite easily imagine that the zombie is about to eat your face rather than the person you’re controlling. Of course, you’ll still need the right atmosphere, mechanical elements and storyline, but it’s the first person view point that is most likely to result in you being a little too creeped out to carry on.
Composed entirely of blacks and greys, it's an eerily pretty game.
Set in a grainy world of blacks and greys, you take control of an apparently nameless boy and work your way through an environment filled with traps, monsters and people, all of which are hell bent on seeing the life fade from your eyes. Or, perhaps more likely, to see your limbs torn from your body.
Throughout the course of the game you will be impaled, torn apart, drowned, crushed, and a whole selection of other grizzly deaths you probably won’t quite expect. There is very little (if anything) in the game that isn’t trying to kill you, from giant spiders to other people.
This hostility isn’t really explained, either. You just wake up in a clearing and the game starts – no exposition, no explanation, not even a tutorial. This serves to further heighten the unease you’ll continue to feel throughout the rest of the game.
Coming upon something that you just know is a trap but you can’t quite tell exactly what it does is an excellent feeling, being tricked by something very similar to a previous trap but works slightly differently is even better, and genuinely made me smile – that’s fantastic design. The puzzles themselves are usually physics-based and often result in head-scratching, and sometimes head removal.
The puzzles involving these mind-controlling leeches are amongst the most frustrating in the game.
Perhaps worse is that the trial and error nature of the game often interferes with the atmosphere. Your first encounter with a giant spider is likely to make you panic a little bit, but after a few deaths the panic is replaced with just wanting to figure it out and carry on so you can soak up yet more of the wonderfully tense atmosphere.
If you can stomach a little little trial and error and fancy some eerie puzzle-solving, Limbo is most certainly for you. Even if you’re not really into the puzzles, it may be worth it just to experience the atmosphere. It’s not perfect, but at £7 on Steam it’s easily worth the price of admission.
Through some happy coincidence Limbo is currently the Midweek Madness deal on Steam, which means it’s 60% off (£2.79) and an absolute steal. The deal ends on the 1st June so you’d better go and pick it up before then.