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Box artwork for LIMBO.
Publisher(s)Microsoft Game Studios (XBLA), Playdead (PSN, Windows)
Distributor(s)Steam, XBLA, PSN
Release date(s)
Xbox 360 icon.png
Xbox 360
Globe.svg July 212010 (Xbox Live Marketplace)
Globe.svg April 192011 (Retail)
PlayStation 3 icon.png
PlayStation 3
Windows icon.png
Genre(s)Puzzle platformer
System(s)Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Microsoft Windows
Mode(s)Single player
ESRB: ESRB T.png Teen
PEGI: PEGI 18.png Ages 18+
CERO: CERO D.jpg Ages 17 and up
ACB: OFLC M.svg Mature
USK: USK 16.png Ages 16+
BBFC: BBFC 12.png 12
Neoseeker Related Pages
TwitchLIMBO Channel
YouTube GamingLIMBO Channel

Limbo (stylized as LIMBO) is a puzzle-platformer video game and the premiere title of independent Danish game developer Playdead. The game was released in July 2010 as a platform exclusive title on Xbox Live Arcade, and was later re-released as part of a retail game pack along with Trials HD and 'Splosion Man in April 2011. Ports of the game to the PlayStation Network and Microsoft Windows via Steam were created by Playdead, released after the year-long Xbox 360 exclusivity period was completed. Limbo is a 2D sidescroller, incorporating a physics system that governs environmental objects and the player character. The player guides an unnamed boy through dangerous environments and traps as the boy searches for his sister. The developer built the game's puzzles expecting the player to fail before finding the correct solution. Playdead called the style of play "trial and death", and used visually gruesome imagery for the boy's deaths to steer the player from unworkable solutions. The game is presented primarily in monochromatic black-and-white tones, using lighting, film grain effects and minimal ambient sounds to create an eerie atmosphere often associated with the horror genre.


The primary character in Limbo is a nameless boy who awakens in the middle of a forest on the "edge of hell" (the game's title is taken from the Latin limbus, meaning "edge"). The boy seeks his missing sister, and encounters only a few human characters that attack or run away from him.


The player controls the boy for the entire game. As is typical of most two-dimensional platform games, the player can make the boy run left or right on the screen, jump, climb up short ledges or up and down ladders and ropes, and push or pull objects. The game is presented through dark, greyscale graphics and with minimalist ambient sounds, creating an eerie, haunting environment. The dark visuals also hide numerous environmental and physical traps, such as bear traps on the forest floor or monsters in the shadows that will attempt to kill the boy. These monsters include a giant spider and worms that dig into the boy's brain and force him to travel in one direction until the worms are killed.

The second half of the game features puzzles and traps involving more mechanical aspects, such as machinery, electromagnetism, and gravity. Many of these traps are not apparent until triggered, often killing the boy. Should this happen, the player restarts the game at the last checkpoint; there is no limit on how many times this can occur. However, the player can often avoid these traps and then use them later, such as using a bear trap to clamp onto an animal carcass at the end of a rope and pulling it taut, allowing the boy to climb up to a ledge that was otherwise out of reach. Because these traps are not known until the player activates them, the developers called the game a "trial and death" game, as the player will likely encounter numerous deaths before they solve each puzzle and complete the game. Many deaths are animated with images of dismemberment or beheading of the boy, but an optional gore filter blacks out the screen instead of showing these deaths. Game achievements include finding hidden insect eggs and completing the game with five or fewer deaths.

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