In my quest to be less of a baby, I am trying to play games that fall under scarier themes. Limbo is one of those games that I thought looked cool, but I was always too scared to try it. I knew nothing about the game, but I decided I’d give it a go after braving the world of Little Nightmares (I’ll have to revisit those games and share my experiences from them – they’re amazing!).
Let’s cut to the chase: Is Limbo scary? So far? I’d say it’s not a jump scare type of game. It’s a game that instead feeds on your apprehension and causes feelings of anxiety to build. The game’s color palette and theme certainly creates a horror atmosphere, but there hasn’t been anything inherently “scary”. If anything, the game creates a sense of unease and dread as you move forward. Things feel unsettling, but you aren’t exactly sure why. The scenery is creepy and beautiful despite being a flat side-scroller. I found myself stopping to look around when the lighting and mood was particularly haunting.
It’s hard to tell if you are alone or not in this world until you encounter your first creature. I haven’t completed the game, but the first encounter is plucked straight from my nightmares. The shadowy outline of an arachnid blocks your path. Once you get past him, you know there is no way that’s the last you’ve seen of him. And when he comes back, he comes back in a way that leaves you feeling helpless.
Even though everything is shadowy, the sound effects and color palette work together to make up for the lack of detail, allowing your brain to fill in the gaps with what unsettles you most. You’re not alone. There are people and they want to hurt you. Why? I don’t know yet and I’m not sure the game will answer this question. But every time I see a person, I freeze and I wait to see what their first move might be.
Encounters become a game of cat and mouse. Outwit them or die. You’ll spend quite a bit of time dying and trying different approaches to get past the traps they set. Sometimes they stand and wait for you to make the first move, and often times, you won’t know what the right action to take is until you step forward and meet your doom.
I am not sure how far into the game I am yet, but so far I’ve been hunted by a massive spider, outwitted mysterious people who want to kill me, dealt with brain-controlling maggots being lodged into my head, and found myself scrambling to out-climb rising levels of water. Not every puzzle is intuitive and there is a lot of trial and error, but the game is forgiving and allows you to respawn relatively close to your last location.
Limbo is certainly not the scary game I thought it would be, but it is a haunting, atmospheric world that has been a somewhat stressful puzzler. I’m interested to see how the story unfolds.
Are there any other games you know of that look scary, but aren’t what you thought they’d be?
You can find part 2 here: “I Beat Limbo Today”
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