[[caption-width-right:350: {{Look|BehindYou}} [[GiantSpider Behind You]]!]]

->''"Insects are a recurring theme in the game, because that's exactly what ''you'' are: a tiny, scared, insignificant insect, gazing up incomprehensibly at the towering food chain at the bottom of which you lie."''
-->-- '''''WebAnimation/ZeroPunctuation'''''

''Limbo'' is a 2-D puzzle platforming horror game by Playdead, an independent game studio based in Copenhagen, Denmark. This is their first game. It was originally released on UsefulNotes/XboxLiveArcade, and was later ported with additional content to the UsefulNotes/PlaystationNetwork, UsefulNotes/{{Steam}}, Android and [=iOS=].

The game's story is simple. You control a [[NoNameGiven nameless]] young boy in [[EldritchLocation Limbo]], searching for his sister. There is no dialog or text of any kind to guide you. Just the boy and a [[CrapsackWorld really, really horrible]] environment. There are [[EverythingTryingToKillYou many deadly puzzles, challenges and traps]] that can get you killed, in many shockingly violent ways. A Gore Filter can make the deaths less grisly, but no less terrifying. When combined with the protagonist's limited moveset -- he's entirely unarmed and can only jump, push/pull objects (like boxes and levers), climb ledges, and swing on ropes -- ''Limbo'''s sense of helplessness and trepidation is intense. Something of a huge contrast and surprise between regional ratings, the [[UsefulNotes/MediaClassifications ESRB]] somehow let the game pass with only a T for Teen rating, while [[UsefulNotes/MediaClassifications PEGI]] gave it an 18, the strictest rating they have. If you see the [[TheManyDeathsOfYou more graphic deaths]] (though, to be fair, they're all [[DeliberatelyMonochrome completely silhouetted]]), you'll understand why some think the ESRB would have, or even ''should'' have given it an M for Mature rating instead.

Players draw many comparisons to ''VideoGame/{{Braid}}'', another Xbox Live puzzle platformer that cost 1200 points at release, lasts about four to five hours on a first playthrough, has a unique art style, and says some interesting things about videogame storytelling.

Playdead later released a SpiritualSuccessor called ''VideoGame/{{Inside}}'' in June of 2016. It's much the same as ''Limbo''--[[http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/video-games/columns/extra-punctuation/17169-Get-Indie-Games-Away-From-the-Idea-of-a-Small-Child-in-a-Scary-W a young boy explores a dangerous and hostile world]], but the setting this time is an incomprehensibly large facility of some kind, and it uses a more realistic art style rather than the silhouette style of ''Limbo''.

Do not confuse with ''VideoGame/LimboOfTheLost'', although that's pretty terrifying in its own special way.

!! This game provides examples of:
* HundredPercentCompletion: If you finish the main game path without exploring too much you'll only receive a 75% or so complete rating. Finding the bonuses fills in the rest of the percentage.
* AdvancingBossOfDoom: Early on, you're forced to run from a GiantSpider.
* AdvancingWallOfDoom: Sawblades appear in this capacity later in the game.
* AlasPoorVillain: [[spoiler:The spider ultimately meets its fate as a tool that the boy uses to advance. In the state of its demise, it was virtually helpless, as all of its legs were ripped off.]]
* AllJustADream: During the final puzzle, the boy crashes into a magical wall and lies down unconscious in a forest. When you get up and can move again, you can go left, only to find more forest where the hazardous industrial world once was. To your right, [[spoiler:his sister awaits, playing in the grass, as if your whole adventure was just a dream... OrWasItADream]]
* AllWebbedUp: Happens to the protagonist in the early parts of the game. However, he can struggle free and move around with enough effort.
* AmbiguousEnding: [[spoiler: You find your sister sitting peacefully in a clearing, apparently picking flowers. She sees you and stands up. Cut to black.]]
* AssholeVictim: A tribe of evil children in the beginning will try to kill you repeatedly, and run up to their treehouses when they fail. Unfortunately, while they're safe from ''you'', the giant spider has no such limitations.
* BadassAdorable: You, being a young child that can climb ladders, jump from rope to rope, and deal with gigantic bugs even when you can't fight them directly.
* BearTrap: A couple of them early on. The first one you see [[spoiler: are actually two next to each other; unless you spot the signs, you'll die horribly]]. After that, there's two more which are both used to your own advantage.
* BigBrotherInstinct: Not even [[EverythingTryingToKillYou the MANY horrors of Limbo]] will stop the boy from finding his sister.
* BlackoutBasement: Some areas indeed have inconsistent lighting. In fact, some of the secrets are in complete darkness.
* BlowGun: Some of the creepy children are shown shooting poison darts at you.
* BookEnds:
** [[spoiler: The scene you see in the main menu is in the same location as the last scene in the ending. [[FridgeHorror And there are flies buzzing around two spots on the ground...]]]]
** The beginning of the game has the boy waking up in the middle of a forest. [[spoiler: After finishing the final puzzle, the boy is inexplicably launched into a forest where he wakes up in the same manner.]]
* BodyHorror: There are glowing worms (popularly referred to as 'brain slugs') that burrow into your head and force you to walk in one direction. Before that happens to you, you encounter other kids who are in the same situation; some are dead.
* BrutalBonusLevel: The PSN and PC versions have one if you collect all the insect eggs. [[spoiler:Its entrance is past where the "Alone in the Dark" egg is found, and when you beat it you come out at the elevator underneath which you find the "Under Ground" egg.]] It's extremely long, dark, and difficult, and there are several places where you'll have to navigate by sound alone.
* ByTheLightsOfTheirEyes: The protagonist's eyes are like this.
** An insect egg found later in the game requires you to navigate a dark cavern with your eyes as the only light source.
* BulletTime: Just as you solve the last puzzle. You get an excellent view of the protagonist [[spoiler:flying slowly through an energy barrier and tumbling pitifully up a grassy hill. Then you get up and finally find your sister.]]
* ButterflyOfDeathAndRebirth: This is subtle but, initially, you see a small white butterfly that [[spoiler: goes towards your sister early in the game]] while the brain slug leads you away.
%%* ChildrenAreInnocent: Averted to horrifying effect.
* ControllableHelplessness: Early on, you run across some goop on the floor that slows you to a crawl, then finally immobilizes you. You realize that it's spider webbing just as the giant spider approaches and [[AllWebbedUp webs]] [[FissionMailed you up]]. In the demo, the spider just kills you at this point instead.
* CrateExpectations: Puzzle elements, to the point where you'll know a puzzle is coming up whenever you see a crate or box.
* CreepyChild: The other kids you meet early on, some of whom try to kill you.
* CreepyCrows: At one point you find a lone crow cawing while perched on top of a hanging cage. The hanging cage next to the one with the crow has a human corpse inside of it.
* DarkIsNotEvil: There are some very sinister-looking black worm/bird things that hang from the ceiling and have vicious mandibles. They're no threat to you, but they do a good job eating those brain slugs. There's also some sort of dog/gerbil/frog thing at one point, but all it does is run away when you go near it. You can even earn it as a pet for your Xbox avatar after beating the game.
* DeadAllAlong: Never outright said, but certainly possible.
* DeliberatelyMonochrome: The only time you see some color is when Friend Notifications or Achievement/Trophy alerts pop up, and that's only on the console versions. On Steam, even the Achievement pop-up is black and white except if you're using a custom Steam skin that has color.
* {{Determinator}}: The boy. Also, the giant spider. It ''really'' wants to eat you, [[spoiler: even when it has only one leg left.]] The spider even disregards other potential meals when it chases you.
* DownerEnding: [[spoiler:The boy finds his sister. Roll credits. The title screen fades in to the same area, but the player might just see resemblances between the final image and the title screen. See NoodleIncident.]]
* DownTheDrain: At least one of the sections of the game where you have to outrun water.
* EldritchLocation: The entirety of Limbo with all its darkness, peril, cruelty of the residents, and the strange gravity levels near the end. You end up inside of it by mysteriously waking up in its forest. [[spoiler:You leave it by somehow passing through a magical wall at the last gravity level.]]
* EternalEngine: A large portion of the game is spent amidst electrified rails, buzzsaws, and [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking gear spokes]].
* EverythingTryingToKillYou: The local ecology is doing its hardest to murder you, and boy, will it succeed. There are parasitic brain slugs that will more often than not cause a player to panic and then subsequently perish. There's a giant spider out to turn you into a shish kebab, spikes growing out of the ground. The only time the local wildlife isn't out to get you is when the other humans are. Particularly notable is that instead of having sentient inanimate objects in the usual style of the trope, you quite often end up killed by reactions to the way you change the environment. [[DeathFromAbove Break a load-bearing branch? The tree's coming down on you. Don't move out of the way of a platform when gravity is shifting it in your direction? Squish. Press a switch to release a box while you're standing under it? Hope you like that broken neck.]] Nearly all of the deaths in the last third of the game are impersonal in this sense, projecting a unique aura of helplessness to the proceedings.
* FeaturelessProtagonist: He's a silhouette with eyes, and that's about it, however, if you look closely at the outline, you can tell he's wearing a sweater, shorts, and a pair of sneakers.
* FissionMailed: At one point, you get caught by the GiantSpider and get AllWebbedUp. However, you are able to struggle free and continue onwards, despite still being bound in the web.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: [[TheFerryman One of the first things the boy does is cross a river on a boat.]]
* GiantSpider: The boss in the forest level is a very large spider.
* GoryDiscretionShot: There's a gore filter in the options that has the game cut to black right before you die. Doesn't remove the sounds, though.
* GravityScrew: Final section of the game. First only items, then you too. Though a few sections earlier, there is a rotational variation of it.
* HailfirePeaks: The very last part of the game is a mash-up of many previous areas; forest, industrial, part of the hotel sign, and so on.
* HeartbeatSoundtrack: Not a ''human'' heartbeat, but the GiantSpider has a distinctive, low-pitched buzzing noise that plays in the background whenever it's around. It finally stops [[spoiler:when you shove the thing into a spike pit.]]
* HellHotel: More accurately, limbo hotel. A section of the game takes place there.
* HopeSpot: A few. Most notably the [[spoiler:fake ending]] and the one in the secret level, where after a long and difficult trek dodging sawblades and other industrial dangers in complete darkness, you come into a serene, quiet, and well-lit area. Then [[spoiler:you're plunged back into the darkness and the machine guns open fire]].
* InterfaceScrew: When a brain slug drops on you, you are forced to run in the opposite direction from where you were heading and you can't stop. If you run into a patch of sunlight, you switch direction.
* KidsAreCruel: The first third or so of the game is populated by what appears to be a ''Literature/LordOfTheFlies''-style tribe of evil children, who've set up traps ([[DeadGuyOnDisplay among other things]]) for the boy. Also, they seem to set traps for ''each other'' as well.
%%* KillTheCutie: You will die. A lot.
* LeapOfFaith: A couple of pits are designed to trick you.
* LostWoods: The first area in the game is a dark, misty forest. Complete with a giant monster spider wanting to kill you.
%%* TheManyDeathsOfYou: So many.
* MeaningfulName: The game was developed by ''Playdead''.
* MindScrew: This trope eventually shows up when [[spoiler:the fake ending occurs. The sister is up ahead, but a brain slug turns you around. A light mysteriously appears in the previous area, spinning you forward again; but by the time you get back to where she should be, you're in more of the factory instead.]]
%%* MinecartMadness: A short section of the game.
* {{Minimalism}}: Less is definitely more in this case. No dialogue, no exposition, no fancy controls, no color... and yet, this game wouldn't have nearly the atmospheric impact if it did have any of these.
* NightmarishFactory: The boy traverses an extensive one near the end of the game. Whatever it produced, it involved a lot of flattening and sawing.
* NoNameGiven: The child protagonist.
* NoPlotNoProblem: The game really has no story to speak of. You're just doing a bunch of things throughout the game with no rhyme or reason.
* NoOSHACompliance: Justified. This is limbo after all.
* NoodleIncident: The kid and his sister are [[spoiler: dead. We find that out in the ending and [[DeadAllAlong title screen]]. But how did they both die, and why is the rope ladder on their treehouse broken? Maybe it's best we don't know]].
* NoSidepathsNoExplorationNoFreedom: The game's linearity and puzzles are much more rigid than ''Braid'''s. But secrets are still out there.
* NothingIsScarier: A lot of things in the game are scary specifically because you can't see them clearly: strange bundles lying in the grass or hanging from ropes that might be dead bodies, unearthly creatures that run away or attack you before you can get a good look at them, deserted industrial landscapes and creaking machinery whose function remains a mystery, and so on.
* NotTheFallThatKillsYou: Sometimes it's the sawblades.
* OffscreenStartBonus: At the very start of the game, going in the wrong direction leads to an egg that provides an Achievement.
* OffWithHisHead: Many things can cause this. Simple ordinary bear traps for example.
* OneWordTitle: The title is ''Limbo'', perhaps for the possibility that [[spoiler:the protagonist and his sister are dead]].
* LeParkour: While the boy doesn't do any of the fancy wall-runs or fence-hops, he does a fair amount of leaping over pits and ledge-climbing.
%%* PersonalSpaceInvader: The brain slugs.
%%* PostProcessingVideoEffects: Film grain.
* PressurePlate: Some of the buttons. A rather nasty trap early on has one apparent pressure plate actually being ''the safe zone'' for a huge smasher; hopping onto the depressions to its sides is what kills you. This would be less annoying if it wasn't right next to another identical trap where the thing sticking up is the kill-button... [[spoiler: and you have to pass through both of them ''twice'']].
* PuppeteerParasite: Glowing slugs may plop onto your head. They force you to walk or run forward--you can only control your speed, and whether or not you jump. They are sensitive to bright lights, however, and if you run into one, it will sizzle and force you to run in the opposite direction. There are some ceiling-dwelling critters that can reach out and pluck the brain slug from your head, but getting to them is the real challenge. When we first see the slugs in action, it's on another human who's being forced into a pool of water, to drown...
%%* PuzzleBoss: [[GiantSpider A big spider]].
* RasputinianDeath: [[spoiler: The aforementioned spider. First you chop three of its legs off with a bear trap, then you lure it into the path of an oncoming boulder, which in turn knocks it over a cliff, then you pull out its last leg, and finally you roll its body into a spike pit.]]
* RecurringBoss: The first third or so of the game features repeat appearances by a [[spoiler:GiantSpider. The first time you see him he's a PuzzleBoss, the next two times he's an AdvancingBossOfDoom, and you finally defeat him in a CurbStompBattle.]]
* RiseToTheChallenge: One part of the game forces the player to navigate through sections with rising water.
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge: The protagonist removes three of the spider's limbs to get past it in their first encounter. It pursues him with [[SuperPersistentPredator absurd]] [[{{Determinator}} persistence]], ultimately [[spoiler: [[DeathByIrony costing the Spider every single one of its other limbs]].]] Special note goes to when it tears through one of the children's camps, [[FoeTossingCharge tossing them out of its way]] in its single-minded pursuit of you.
* ScarecrowSolution: Not long into the forest level, you see some more of those dreaded spider legs poking out from a nearby tree--but they're a fake. The hostile humans in the area set them up to scare you away.
* SceneryPorn: Breathtaking black and white worlds, combined with effective use of grainy filters, make for a beautiful experience. [[SceneryGorn However, the scenario paints a very grim, hostile world, where no inhabitant is truly safe. Even your enemies]].
* SchmuckBait: Everywhere, but in particular, the first third of the game.
* ShadowDiscretionShot: You are always shown as a silhouette [[ByTheLightsOfTheirEyes with eyes]]. However, this does nothing to ease away the {{squick}}iness and horror of your many, many deaths.
* SmashToBlack: An optional example available, which censors the gory deaths of the boy, but leaves the sound in.
* SpikesOfDoom: In some sections. And you're not the only one vulnerable to them.
* StupidityIsTheOnlyOption: The parasitic worms are easy to see, considering they're white and everything else is dark. Doesn't matter; you still have to pass under them and get infected. There's no avoiding them.
* SuperDrowningSkills: In any body of water that comes up above your head, you drown almost immediately and sink like a stone. There's an audible cue for near-drowning; the soundtrack will begin to fade and it's only after that point that you'll die. You can still press the movement keys which causes the boy to twitch as he dies...
* SuperPersistentPredator: The spider. It never gives up hunting the kid for as long as it lives, despite [[spoiler:having ''only one leg'' in its final appearance.]]
* TreehouseOfFun: Many of them can be seen. Though "fun" [[VideoGame/DwarfFortress takes a whole different meaning.]]
* TrialAndErrorGameplay: In fact, the developer described it as "trial-and-[[TheManyDeathsOfYou death]]" gameplay. Chances are, on your first playthrough, that you'll die quite often while trying to figure out a couple puzzles. The best example of this is the pair of mechanical crushers early on. [[spoiler: To avoid causing the first one to fall on you, you must step on the elevated square underneath it. For the second one, you have to avoid an identical square. There's no indication of the solution, other than dying and trying again.]] It is so easy to die in this game that one of the Xbox Achievements for the game is a "no-death run" in which you're allowed to die ''up to five times'' and still get the Achievement.
* VideoGameCaringPotential: The protagonist is a child. A cute kid who is getting slaughtered by everything. Give it a few deaths and you'll be dodging the puzzles for his sake, not your own.
* VideoGameCrueltyPotential: After beating the game the player has the option of replaying any of the chapters. Kind gamers can enjoy their favorite puzzles over and over while helping the boy reach his goal. Sadistic players can see just how many different ways it's possible to kill the poor kid...
* WeakenedByTheLight: The {{brain slug}}s have this as their only weakness. If you walk into the light while under the influence of one of these, you'll be forced to walk away in the other direction.
* WeatherControlMachine: A somewhat nondescript machine early on makes it rain when activated.
* WhoForgotTheLights: Some parts of the game are not recommended to be played during daytime. It's that dark.
* WhenItRainsItPours: When you turn on a weather machine, it starts raining so hard that the next portion of gameplay is devoted to avoiding drowning in the ever-rising water.
* YourPrincessIsInAnotherCastle: A fair bit of the way into the industrial portion of the game, you will emerge in a small forested area, with the treehouse and the girl you were looking for--then a BrainSlug plops onto your head and forces you to run the other way. When you get back, [[spoiler:there is no forest or treehouse]]...