Straight From A Nightmare
There are few things in gaming that are as creepy and edgy as the world of Limbo, while still never resorting to simple "jump scares" and grotesque monsters displayed in graphic detail. When you're about to die in Limbo, a lot of times you'll see it coming for at least a few seconds, and the horrible panic that ensues causes you to flail around looking for an escape, but quite often you just aren't fast enough. That's the real genius of this game's atmosphere - the game forces you to think fast, but rather than it being a split second reaction, you're trying to escape some terrifying death as it closes in on you. The best examples come from the giant spider you run into a few times early in the game - he walks slowly, creeping up to you, as you desperately try to get away, maneuvering the game's environmental puzzles to progress. The only thing racing through your mind is to widen the gap between you and it, even if it's only by a little bit at a time.
The atmosphere and art style are definitely what make Limbo not fall into the category of standard puzzle/platformer. Sure the controls are smooth, and the puzzles are clever, but nobody will play this game without their first thoughts afterward being something involving the words "creepy" or "terrifying". Unfortunately, the game doesn't keep up quite the same atmosphere throughout. The later stages of the game become more focused on intense puzzles and platforming, where death is more immediate and commonplace. While I understand the need to not repeat the same things over again, I feel like the first half of the game was much stronger than the second, and that shouldn't really happen. For me, by the end of the game I was just waiting for it to be over, because I had lost all the zeal for it that the early parts generated, and when a game this short doesn't engage you the entire time, that's a bit of a problem.
Overall, though, Limbo is a standout arcade title, and while I may not consider it "the next Braid", it is definitely something I would recommend to just about anyone. It is simple and engaging (most of the time), and there are very few games that get your heart rate up quite as well as some parts of this game does.