Independent Danish developer, Playdead, made headlines when their dark and eerie 2D platformer games, Limbo and Inside, released across multiple platforms and topped the review charts. Recently, both games were released on the Nintendo Switch, adding to the roster of incredible games already available on the hybrid console.
Limbo is a puzzle-platformer that follows a young boy’s journey through dangerous and treacherous terrain as he searches for his missing sister. Set in an eerie environment filled with dark undertones and barely any sound, the game personifies the loneliness that comes with being stuck in limbo.
Inside, which is fairly similar in terms of setting and gameplay, follows an unnamed boy as he explores his rather mysterious and otherworldly surroundings, which is filled with unique creatures, and later leads to an attempt to escape a bizarre laboratory of sorts.
Both games are unique and proved interesting to play as I’m not used to playing characters in games who don’t speak or do much other than move forwards, backwards, jump and climb onto ledges or up and down ropes and ladders. Both Limbo and Inside certainly proved to possess the minimalistic movements common to two-dimensional platformer games, which may be disconcerting for some, but as I’m still familiarising myself with the small Joy-Con controllers, this simplicity was exactly what I needed to familiarise myself with the next-gen console.
Playing through both titles took a lot of trial and error, resulting in numerous character deaths, in order to learn from mistakes and progress. Normally, I’d give up after a couple of attempts but the way in which Playdead has crafted both these games is rather unique in my experience and checkpoints are fairly close to the character death position that it really doesn’t take too much effort to try again, over and over. The one thing I learnt from my first playthrough of Limbo back in 2015 on the PlayStation 4 console is that everything is placed in the game’s environment for a reason. Since I’d mostly forgotten how I’d achieved success in Limbo previously, I utilised this one lesson to help me through both Limbo and Inside on the Nintendo Switch.
Both titles were equally intriguing and terrifyingly haunting at the same time, which makes for shocking excitement that doesn’t quite let up and allow for any room to breathe. Everything within both games are detailed with careful consideration, subtly detailing various animations and contrasting between dull and gloomy lighting with a sudden burst of intense sound. The graphics and sound effects used within both games makes playing both rather unsettling at times, leading to surprises and on a couple of occasions, jump scares.
Where Limbo is more linear, with merely having to dodge traps and avoid getting gruesomely killed, Inside possesses more variety. In Inside, players will still have to run, jump, dodge traps, swim and perform a variety of challenging tasks, much like that in Limbo, however, here, a player can also be chased by dogs, interact with other creatures, control minds and solve more complex puzzles.
Both games were incredible melancholic, especially at the end, making players feel a sense of loss when the game ends. Both Limbo and Inside managed to have me hooked to the point that it felt as if there was a gaping hole within me once the game ended. The gameplay, graphics, mysterious narrative and most importantly sound, or lack thereof, completely enthralled and captivated me. No other puzzle-platformer game had ever caught my interest the way Limbo and Inside had.
If you’re looking for a simplistic, yet challenging and fun game to explore while on the go, I’d highly recommend both these games on the Nintendo Switch. Though the controls take some getting used to, having both these games on the Switch adds to the appeal of the hybrid console. If you haven’t picked up the console yet, what are you waiting for?