Published on August 27th, 2012 | by Kyle Spencer, Editor
Developer: Tequila Works
Platform: Xbox LIVE Arcade
Release Date: July 27, 2012
Price: $15.99 (1200 MS Points)
Summer of Arcade has always been a solid destination for finding some of Xbox LIVE Arcade’s best side-scrolling puzzle games and this year is no different. Taking elements from previous games such as Shadow Complex and Limbo, Deadlight is in a league all in itself. Sure, it is another zombie survival game, but is also a breath of fresh air for the genre.
The year is 1986 and you play as Randall Wayne, a middle class Seattle native who is looking for his wife and son in a city that has been overrun by zombies. Horrible flashbacks and fighting to survive with survivalists in the city is leaving his days numbered.
Deadlight is not your typical zombie survival run-and-gun style kind of game. This is a platformer that has Randall running, jumping and climbing ledges to get away from the zombies instead of fighting every one of them off as most zombie games have you do. Of course you still can use weapons such as axes, which will have you decapitating zombies, and guns, which will be used sparingly since ammo is extremely limited. But shooting and fighting isn’t the idea here — it is all based on story and the drive to find Randall’s loved ones.
Combat is pretty solid and tension is there especially with Deadlight focusing on survival. Having one zombie grab you is tolerable, but multiple zombies will show you the “Reload Last Checkpoint” screen often.
The game’s narrative is very compelling. It surprisingly drives forward with the pedal to the medal and is told in a graphic novel fashion. Voice acting is very well done for it being an arcade platformer, and even more astonishing is the graphic fidelity. The game’s setpieces are stunning, and carries on the mood of a devastated Seattle and a torn world.
There is very little to dislike about this simple, stylish action game, except for a few sequences that take too long to get through, and some very frustrating checkpoint mishaps. With some of the frustrating bits in the game, there is nothing more of a head scratcher than the fact that Randall cannot swim, and Randall will drown in water above knee deep.
There is so much to enjoy about Deadlight, and if you’re not going to play Deadlight for its beautiful environments and simplistic controls, play it for the story. The ending will be a twist that you will likely never see coming. This is the shining piece to the Xbox LIVE Summer of Arcade showcase.
+ Graphically solid
+ Good story
+ Crazy twist
– Stumbling checkpoints
– Frustrating running sequences