We promise, it's not a level in Dante's Inferno, instead it's indie developer Playdead's first title. So sweet, yet so disturbing at the same time...

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He's quite cute, the kid we play as in Limbo. You can hardly see him, considering the game is all black and white, but he happily runs along his 2D-path. I'm told he's looking for his sister, and I help him climb over some obstacles, solve some simple puzzles until I take a step too far and see his head being chopped off by a bear trap lying in the black grass. Blood pumps out of his neck as the head tumbles to the ground.

A few minutes later I've been squashed beneath a large rock, I've been impaled on spikes, I've been riddled by arrows. Some puzzles might be about moving a crate so I can reach higher heights, but it can also be about pulling off a hedgehog's carcass from a rope so it no longer weights down a branch. It's so sweet and innocent, while remaining blood-curling violent at the same time.

A big part of Limbo's charm is clearly its art direction, and it looks awesome in motion. It's simple, but effective. But the gameplay itself feels a bit like a puzzler version of the original Prince of Persia, where the feeling of playing through a fairy tale was only broken by the sudden death the game liked to inflict on the poor Prince. Here it looks like a creepy childrens' story, until heads starts flying. Hang on, that's pretty much exactly a scary childrens' story...

Not much has been said about the story in Limbo, or if the name has anything to do with that circle in Hell that unbaptized babies end up in if they die. It feels like it does, though, but for me to say that out loud would be putting words in the developers' mouths. Perhaps it's just a cool title, what do I know?

I do spot other children during my brief time with the game, though. They were the ones that riddled me with arrows, and it looked as if though at least one of them was wearing a helmet - Lord of the Flies came to mind straight away. Perhaps they are just part of the backdrop, as parts of the puzzles you must solve. Perhaps there is more here than what the developers are currently letting on.

Or perhaps that's just me, making up wild theories. I just want there to be a story here, in the same way as The Path's storyline could be quite disturbing. Because even if Limbo, at first glance, looked sweet and nice it does feel pretty disturbing and creepy to see a child's head getting chopped off.


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REVIEW. Written by Bengt Lemne

To be caught in Limbo has never felt better than in Playdead's indie darling on Xbox Live Arcade. Bengt has been in contact with his inner, black and white, child...

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