There’s a very good chance that you’ve played Limbo and Inside from developer Playdead before.
The dark, thematic side-scrolling puzzle games play to developer Playdead’s strengths, with minimalist style when it comes to dialogue and story but so much to unpack when dissecting the creepy universe each game inhabits. While you may not be inspired to play through them all over again on the Switch, they are an easy recommendation for anybody who is yet to experience them – and a good excuse to pick them up for a portable experience.
Limbo may just be the most released indie game ever. Originally taking our collective breath away on the Xbox 360 as a part of the Xbox Live Arcade way back in 2010 (!), the title generated around $7.5 million in revenue, ultimately winning many awards, critical acclaim and achieving the rank as the third-highest selling game on the service. It was over a year later that we saw the game ported over to other platforms like PC and PS3, and it has since been released on pretty much every platform under the sun, putting even Skyrim to shame.
It even was given to early Xbox One adopters as a freebie, with Phil Spencer himself calling it a “must play”. Needless to say, Limbo is a huge success story and will go down in history as an indie game that defined a generation of indie games, paving the way for the diversity and talent we can see today.
But that’s all history, and if you somehow haven’t played Limbo before, the Switch version is as good as any. A dark tale of a young nameless boy, you awaken in the forest and try to find your missing sister – but you’re not alone in this world. It’s a short but brilliantly paced experience, and while a little dark in handheld mode, still plays as well today as it did eight years ago.
Inside, the second title from Playdead released in 2016, at first glance has very similar sensibilities to Limbo before it. A dark tale of a young nameless boy (stop me if you’ve heard this before), you explore a surreal environment, solving puzzles and so forth. Another short adventure, this award-winning title is best not spoiled.
As Elliot said in our feature on the game when it first came out, “there is clearly a lot more going on, although the game never outlines any of it specifically. It wants you to uncover everything for yourself and create your own narrative with the information that it provides.”
Following up on the good graces of their first title, Inside is a more creative and a more visually compelling title that offers a few more ideas and themes worth discussing. The gameplay mechanics in both titles are simple, but it’s Inside that left a more lasting impression on me. It’s a game that left me thinking about what happened long after, and had me eager to discuss with friends what their theories were. It also plays perfectly fine on the Switch, although again in handheld mode some of the larger scale environments make your character a little small by comparison on the smaller screen.
The only criticism I can come up with is that these games have been released many times before and that the Switch versions don’t offer anything new or an incentive to go back if you’ve already completed them. They are short albeit memorable adventures, but beyond the chance to reminisce, you may not want to buy these games all over again just to have them portably.
But I can’t assume that everybody has owned a console that these games have featured on in the past and this is the first time they’ve appeared on a Nintendo platform, so if you’re new to them, absolutely 100% pick up these two iconic titles.
Dino Patti, one of the co-founders of Playdead, has started collaborating on a new title that we still know very little about, Somerville. While he may have left the studio to go elsewhere, the style and success of these two gems bodes well for him, and we can’t wait to see what happens next.
Limbo and Inside from studio Playdead are now out for the Nintendo Switch. If you still haven’t played them – this is the perfect opportunity.