Limbo (Nintendo Switch)
Eight years ago, the world experienced Playdead's Limbo for the first time and was left awestruck. Now, it's come to Nintendo Switch and it's time for a new brand of gamers to take the plunge into Limbo! Here's our review of the Nintendo Switch port!
A Dangerous Nature-based 2D Adventure
Imagine a world devoid of color. With barely any light to guide your way. With monsters, tribes of children, and traps all out to end your life. Eight years ago, Playdead, Microsoft Studios, and Arnt Jensen brought this world to life with Limbo, a short, black and white 2D puzzle platformer that included all of the aforementioned elements.
Upon its initial release Limbo called only the Xbox family of products home, but over the years Playdead has been porting their platformer on any system it could. The latest being on Nintendo Switch.
Admittedly, Limbo was a game I missed out on when it released nearly a decade ago. I had always heard positive things about it, but I hadn’t gotten the chance to experience this dark, twisted world. When I was given the opportunity to review it on Switch, I celebrated. With no prior knowledge of the game, this review will be from fresh eyes.
In Limbo, you wake up as a nameless young boy, with bright white eyes, in a dark forest, lacking light. There is no dialogue, no script that appears above you to tell you what to do. Instead, you immediately start your adventure by moving right. The whole story revolves around getting away from the dangerous elements that are out to kill you. There is one moment where you see a little girl picking flowers from afar and the motivation seems to move to trying to get to her, but without knowing who she is and the brief moment with her, it’s hard to know what the importance of this little girl is.
Despite it not having words, one can assume based on the name and the environment that Limbo has to do with the world within the afterlife that lost souls found themselves stuck in. It would make sense too, as Limbo is a permanent residence in the bible that found their inhabitants stuck in an endless loop for all of eternity, never to move on from this existence. In the game, because of the way it starts and ends, it feels like a loop in some way. According to Playdead’s description of the game, the young boy jumps into Limbo because he’s uncertain of his sister’s fate. It’s assumed that the girl you find is her, and while that’s an incredible gesture, it does put a sad twist to the game.
The bright side is, the game’s exhilarating, mind-bending gameplay is more than enough to keep you moving through this short adventure, spanning across what could be a minimum of 2 hours across 40 levels.
Outside of the Box Puzzles
2 hours for 40 levels may sound really short, but what you have to take into account is that’s a best case scenario. It is possible to blaze through the first half of puzzles, as many of them include timed jumps, and using the environment to your advantage. However, there are several puzzles, especially in the latter half of the game when it becomes more industrial, that could take you hours to figure out, if you’re not Youtubing the answers.
In fact, Limbo includes a massive number of never-before-seen puzzles that could kill and frustrate you at any given moment. From having to outsmart a colossal spider to making your enemies fall for crushing traps to machine gun and electrical traps standing in your way, Limbo pushes the envelope when it comes to the puzzle genre. Not to mention, throughout the entire game, your only movements are run (not sprint), jump, and push. That’s it. Nothing else, making the whole experience even more challenging.
The Switch Effect
As with any new game that ports to Nintendo Switch, there are unique features that are included with the original console. However, before we get to the features, we need to talk about price. One of the big drawbacks for Limbo when it initially released was the cost. A lot of it had to do with how quick the game was and how it felt unworthy of the weighted price tag. For Switch, the price of this 116MB game is $9.99. Ten dollars is an affordable price tag for a indie side-scroller like this. Although, I could see more people being comfortable if it was half that, mainly because for most people this would be a one and done game and $10 may still seem a bit steep.
If you’re looking for any exclusive features for Nintendo Switch to sway you in any direction, unfortunately you won’t find any. Artistically and graphically-speaking, there isn’t any degradation from the TV to the mobile console, which is a major plus. The game still looks gorgeous in its own eerie way. In terms of what you can do with Joycons, it is possible to play Limbo by propping up the screen and playing with the separate Joycons but it doesn’t feel all that comfortable. I suppose it would be an added challenge for the try-hards and speed gamers of the Limbo world.