Limbo Review

   21/07/2010 at 20:48       Richard Horne       9 COMMENTS. - Score 5/5
 - Limbo, Playdead, XBLA

A boy lies still, slumped in the grass.
Is he dead?
His metaphorical game over?
Or is he just asleep in the shade,
his weary eyes resting?

I prod with my thumb.
A third time more aggressively.

But then his lifeless body limply stirs.
His brow twitches.
Pin-hole lights glow dimly.
Two piss-holes in the snow.

He sits up.
The sleep leaves his eyes.
His faculties restored.
“Let’s play” I squeal in delight.

The wind ruffles our hair
as we bound through the wilderness.
Hopping over ferns.
Racing through forests.
His short legs slow our progress
but his exuberance remains infectious.
We push on as though spirited along
by an imaginary invisible force.
Our every movement tracked
by overhanging, torrid, shrivelled branches.
Pointing the way
or funnelling us towards a deadly conclusion?

Our relentless pace slows.
Our foot-steps more cautious.
A deathly fog clouds our vision.

Such menacing darkness.
Foreboding, pervasive.
Ominous clouds fill the sky
heavy with despair and full to bursting.
The deafening silence rings out in our ears.
But we continue our chase,
using fallen comrades as makeshift stepping stones.

The silence is broken.
A distant purring resonates.
Its low hum seems reassuring
but experience dictates otherwise.
Are we running from danger
or being lured into it?

Our eyes play tricks on us.
Movement or an illusion?
We tip-toe forward.
Every stride brings us one step closer to salvation.
But the purring gets louder, almost deafening.

And then, without warning,
our arachnid foe appears.
Haunched, poised, ready to attack.
We edge closer,
unsure as to whether it’s spotted us.
Melting into the shadows we try to sneak by.
One step.
Two steps.
Three steps.
Safety beckons.
Our beating heart blocks out the now thunderous purring.
Adrenalin flowing, legs pumping.
Just. One. More. Step.


Its raises its two front legs, high above its head.
A last-gasp attempt at halting our progress.
There’s light in the distance.
We can reach it. Victory is ours.

But then a snap.
A reflex action.
Its razor sharp point, in the blink of an eye
Crashes downwards ferociously.
Incising our soft delicate skin
smashing through sinew, bone and muscle
before escaping out the other side.
The pin-holes close, fading slowly to nothing.
The darkness absorbs
That distant light vanishes.

Our heads fall as one.
A tear drop forms.

“What are you crying for?” She mocks
snapping me out of my depression.
“It’s only a game!”

“I’m not crying, I’ve just got some grit in my eye.”

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