Xiao Tan

Technical Artist, 
Creative Technologist

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Limbs is a body horror narrative game exploring one person’s experience through puberty. it uses the logic of fairy tales and magical realism to examine this character’s emotional, social, and family dynamics.

The game appropriates idle game (“clicker”) mechanics to create a ritual for the player to grow and harvest organs. the player delivers organs to various animals to progress through their various stories.

Story Premise

Your body has hurt recently, feeling pliable and clumsy. one night at 2am, you open your bathroom door to endless hateful conifers instead of your mirror. in between the pine limbs, you see chattering creatures as tall as the trees themselves. and they are each so excited to ask how you have been feeling lately in this new old body of yours.

Mrs. Beaver wants a fresh baby tooth (that requires pliers).

Mr. Fox wants a tablespoon of blood (that requires a drawing knife).

Ms. Crow just wants one small band of muscle from the cradle of your throat (that requires a pruning saw).

No matter; it’ll all grow back anyway.

Presenting Limbs: a body horror fairy tale about puberty and the fluidity of our physical forms. inspired by the poem Adolescence-II by Rita Dove. use your body as a farm for flesh to appease these strange storied beasts and return to your bathroom mirror.

Play Limbs


Game Guide


My Role

Narrative Design, Level Design, Writing (responsible for the narrative and level design of one of the three main locations including its stories, resources, quests and NPCs)


The game is made up of several animal NPCs with questlines  and several environmental regions.

Each animal has quests. the animal will request a specific organ relating to puberty, growth, and the transformation of the protagonist’s body, and the player is responsible for collecting resources to grow that organ. when the player does, the animal reveals more story to them and moves farther into the region. once the questline is complete, the animal presents the player with a choice to permanently alter their self or body.

The first time a player completes an animal’s quest, the animal will provide a harvesting tool. harvesting tools and the way the harvesting is discussed are all related to bonsai: drawing knives, pliers, pruning saws, etc.

Each region has sublocations. each sublocation allows the player to collect resources.  the resource gathering takes a fixed amount of time, which allows each location to play a piece of media for the player. at the conclusion, the resource is gathered. when enough resources are collected, players can select an available body part to grow and later harvest an organ from.

Many parts of the interface can be hovered over to receive more information or story. the overall narrative consists of nested thematic content: stories within stories within stories.

Game Loop

Process of Making

Goal of the Game

On a physical level, the protagonist has been transported to a strange environment and needs to go home.

On an emotional level, the protagonist has been struggling with how they view and interpret their body. the player can make choices about the protagonist’s body that result in different endings and different ways of reacting to that problem.


Limbs focuses primarily on puberty, exercising control over our physical forms, and body neutrality. puberty changes you whether you want it to or not, but you can still have agency while accepting this fact. Limbs considers body neutrality as a form of self-actualization. along these lines, the body is natural (occuring in nature).

Tone & Voice

Body horror

The game focuses on visceral feelings in and of the body, especially in ways that the body is natural, gross, and unpleasant. things inside you end up outside you; things outside you end up inside you; and putting things that are outside you that used to be inside you back inside you.

Fever dream fairytale

The setting of the game is contemporary but introduces magical elements fluidly and without question–as if they were stable parts of reality. in truth the entire game is “just a dream”, but the impacts of that dream are treated as if they are immediately relevant to “real life”.


The animals in the game are antagonistic. while they are openly opposing your goals, there is always an underlying hostility to them. they attempt to draw you into themselves and then reveal that they know more than you and are essentially toying with you.

Hi, this is Xiao Tan, a New York-based Creative Technologist and Technical Artist. I focus on creating games and interactive experiences with new mediums, including physical computing, alternative controllers, motion tracking, live performance, and VR.

For further information, projects, freelance, or collaborations
︎tanx2202@gmail.com / @real.xiaoxiao