Limbo clearly inspired Little Nightmares, and so we compared the two in terms of story, mechanics, and overall spookiness.
One of the more subtly influential games of the modern era is Limbo. This 2D platformer falls under the horror genre with minimalist visuals and sound effects creating an eerie presentation. Games since then have tried to emulate Limbo's style. One notable puzzle-platformer in recent times is Little Nightmares;like Limbo, Little Nightmares focuses on a child having to solve puzzles and evade terrifying obstacles. Which game is the better experience? Let's find out in this week's Fight Club.
I've played Resident Evil VII and The Evil Within, but there's something particularly unsettling about Limbo, making it just as memorable as those titles. The unnamed boy wakes up in a dark, minimalist world. There is no music,just the sound of his footsteps. It's creepy, and things take a turn for the horrific when the giant spider arrives. This isn't even the scariest part. The boy runs into other unnamed kids. Some are dead, apparently by drowning or being hanged. Others are trying to kill him for no known reason. These encounters are scary because I just don't know what's coming. Even though the scares in Limbo come to a halt in the game's second half (more on that later), the disturbing scenes in the first half will never be forgotten.
Little Nightmares shouldn't be underestimated. Whereas Limbo uses simplistic design, Little Nightmares offers more detail, which works to its benefit. The large enemies in the game's setting, the Maw, are creepy. From the Janitor, to the grotesque kitchen twins, the enemies are very memorable. The narrative is also a little more pronounced in Little Nightmares. So, when I begin to realize why the girl, Six, is there, the story takes a chilling turn.
Overall, though, while Little Nightmares is scary, Limbo's first half is undeniably supremely disturbing.
It's hard to describe to storyline of Limbo, and that's on purpose. The only thing known is the boy entering "Limbo" in search of his sister. Everything is up for interpretation. One can find countless theory threads and videos attempting to explain Limbo's story. This can be a good thing, as it generates plenty of back and forth discussion. However, Limbo's story can also be frustrating since there isn't a whole lot of concrete information to speculate on. We don't how a giant spider fits into things, nor why these other kids are trying to kill the boy. Nothing is answered in Limbo, which is both interesting and frustrating.
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On the flip side, Little Nightmares has a more concrete story. Like Limbo, it doesn't use dialogue to get the lore across. Instead, it uses visuals to give players just enough information to understand the main aspect of the story. I am chilled when I see what appears to be wrapped bodies, and later the kitchen. It's apparent children are brought to the Maw in order to be eaten. It's a disturbing plot, and made me want to help Six escape the place.
Overall, while Limbo's storyline is interesting to speculate on, there just isn't enough for it to be called wholly satisfying. The narrative in Little Nightmares is more engaging to play through.
Both Limbo and Little Nightmares have great puzzles. Limbo's puzzlesuse different objects and environmental sounds to solve. I would die gruesomely, but that motivated me to figure out the well-designed puzzle so I didn't have to watch the boy get impaled or break his neck again and again.
Little Nightmares has puzzles involving objects as well. There are also fun (and frightening) evasion sequences against the Maw's monsters. The big difference between the two games is Limbo's mediocre second half. Now, the gameplay doesn't suffer. Puzzles remain excellent throughout. However, there are no more creepy encounters, not a lot furthering the intrigue. Instead, it becomes just one puzzle and platforming obstacle after another leading to the game's inconclusive ending.
Everything in Little Nightmares, on the other hand, serves to further Six's escape. It builds up to a terrifying escape sequence as the Guests try to get their large hands on Six. This gameplay sequence truly shows me the disturbing place Six is trapped in. Limbo is an excellent game, but I can't help but feel disappointed with its second half, as it stops being a supremely disturbing gameplay experience in favor of the puzzle elements. Little Nightmares continually has great puzzles built into the narrative.
WINNER: Little Nightmares
Limbo and Little Nightmares are fantastic titles achieving success as horror platformers. The first half of Limbo is exceptionally atmospheric. However, there is just a little more to Little Nightmares. Not only does it have great puzzles, it also has an eerie narrative told through its visuals. If you want more titles like these,check outInside, a similar game to Limbo with an unforgettable climax. Little Nightmares is getting a sequel in 2021, which is looking promising.
NEXT: 5 Reasons INSIDE Is The Best Playdead Game (& 5 Reasons It's LIMBO)
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Daniel has been writing video game news, features, and reviews at TheGamer for some time now. He also contributes to ScreenRant. In the past, he's written for ComicBookMovie, Unleash the Fanboy, and 411 Mania. He resides in Old Bridge, New Jersey, and graduated from Thomas Edison State University with a B.A. in Communications. His favorite video game company is Nintendo, and once you get him talking about Mario or Smash Bros., he won't stop. He has also enjoyed many PlayStation exclusives, such as The Last of Us and Horizon: Zero Dawn. The only other entertainment he enjoys more than gaming is watching a Godzilla movie.
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