Publisher: Microsoft Game Studio
Developer: Tequila Works
Release Date: 8/1/2012
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Zombie games are abundant now, but they are getting smarter and more atmospheric. Deadlight brings the unique 2D side-scrolling platforming of Shadow Complex and adds zombies. You play as Randall Wayne trying to find his family in the Safe Zone while uncovering why The New Law is trying to round up survivors. The problem with the story is that it is so short it doesn’t give it much time to develop. You won’t care about anyone in the game, just the action. Deadlight’s strongest feat is its atmosphere, but this one has a few issues.
The game is all about platforming and running from zombies. There are some puzzles thrown in, but they are basic and not very hard to figure out. Push this button to raise this platform type of stuff. You can run and bust open doors, but the run feature is mainly used to run from zombies in open areas. Jump to avoid obstacles in your way because you don’t want to take down all these zombies. You carry an axe most of the time, but they don’t go down easy and take several swings to take down. Once you get caught up in a zombie group you’re pretty much dead which is frustrating. Best just to jump over them and get to the next area. In some sections, you get a pistol or a shotgun which comes in handy and then you don’t have to run from zombies. All the action and platforming are really fun, but the game is troubled with some awkward mechanics. You can’t jump or grab onto objects directly above you if you are pressing left or right at all. Randall with a leap forward and this can lead to cheap deaths. Climbing up and down things is annoying because you have to press a button to go up and down. Instead of just pressing up to go up and down for down you have a button for each action which breaks the game’s momentum. Same goes for aiming. You can’t just whip out your gun and blast enemies away, you have to stop, aim (which takes a second for the gun to be drawn) then fire. This is ridiculous and annoying.
Besides that, the game has many locales you go through and it is just a lot of fun. I played the whole game in one sitting because of the atmosphere. Seeing zombies in the background, having to run, taking them down, it is just plain fun which Deadlight does a good job of providing. There were a lot of cheap deaths due to awkward controls and glitches, but most glitches have been addressed now. The game just has a great pace that constantly keeps you on the move, but there are other issues that persist.
The voice acting is spotty where it is good sometimes than terrible other times. The graphics are amazing for this type of game and really draw you in to this desolate world. I just wish there was a great story to go along with this game. Being so short, I felt they could have done so much more. There’s no reason to go back and finding collectible doesn’t give you jack so one quick play through and you’re done. This is just an evening play through and isn’t really worth the price. This feels more like a long demo than anything else. Deadlight has a lot of potentials, but hopefully, a sequel will provide more.