To call Limbo Lane’s Smile for Me “art deco meets point and click adventure” would be reductive at best, though that is what is seen at first glance. In truth, the avant-garde art style and charming dialogue herald a unique experience, evident from even just the first ten minutes of game play.
The puzzle adventure game draws inspiration from games like Psychonauts and art direction from eastern European short animations. Each character is unique in color scheme, posture, stature, size, shape, everything. Their differing visual appearances match their personalities as well. And none of this mentions the VHS tape sections and the puppets. This game is out there in the best way possible. The writing is snappy and clever, and the attention to detail is evident in every line. The humor is dry and self-aware, truly a treat.
Limbo Lane offer a unique twist to interacting with characters in the story, by making the player nod or shake their proverbial head in order to provide yes or no answers to questions. A fascinating change up, making something that could have been as simple as a text box choice be an action taken in the game. And one best utilized by modern controllers. The Switch’s built in gyroscope made nodding or shaking one’s head in game feel more, well, real. Having to move your body in accordance with what your character is doing is the definition of immersive, and that makes Smile for Me stand out all the more.
Smile for Me is Limbo Lane’s most recent title, though the game has already been released to overwhelmingly positive reviews on Steam in the four years it’s been released. It was originally self-published, but with the help of Serenity Forge, ports to consoles and translations are being released April 24, 2023.