Deadlight (Xbox Live Arcade) Review


Deadlight is a 2012 2.5d platformer for Xbox Live Arcade developed by Tequila Works and published by Microsoft Studios. The game follows a man named Randall as he searches through a ruined world filled with shadows (aka Zombies) to find his friends and family.

One of the main points that made me interested in the game was its clever use of graphics with a world filled with stuff to look at and still feeling absolutely dead (like its meant to), the music used throughout the game is also very good. The help and options screen is very useful with absolutely everything you would possibly need to know in the how to play section and the seperate controls section (although there’s no editing). As for options you adjust volume seperately (Music, SFX and Dialogue), Toggle Subtitles and Vibration as well as adjust Brightness which is good for getting the right atmosphere in game.

I’m not sure if i could say the story was mind blowing but you do get pulled into it and really want to see what happens, its ultimately a very sad story and nothing happy really happens except possibly on one occasion. The most interesting thing was probably the fact that the zombies weren’t the only enemy although I found it more annoying that good. Also while it had been hinting at it throughout the story the sudden reveal at the end almost made the whole thing feel pointless although you do still feel a bit sorry for Randall. Although there’s also an alternate ending for completing nightmare mode and while i hadn’t seen it i feel i probably won’t want to, without outright spoiling lets say you’ll probably hate Randall instead.

As for gameplay it was incredibly linear although not bad, the movement was easy to get used to as well as the other controls. I admit i found some of the stuff Randall could do a bit insane and even got stuck in few places for long amounts of time but it got better as i got used to everything. Also there’s a lot of secrets the game places everywhere for you to keep an eye out  for including 3 retro looking mini games you can unlock too which means its not like a perfectly straight line or something. However most of the secrets are useless, scraps of letters are almost pointless and even the full one you manage to find can’t actually be read so you’re stuck with the tiny descriptions instead.

Feeling helpless against the zombies was supposed to happen and its possible to survive if you’re good with the weapons although that’s where a few of the problems are. The game both loves and hates you, on one hand doing something wrong could mean your immediate death but on the other you have infinite tries and very generous checkpoints. There is a stamina system that might screw you over if you’re not careful especially since 2 zombies can slaughter you too although you can get used to it. You have 2 melee attacks consisting of a normal swing and an overhead one that can kill downed zombies, both use stamina with the 2nd using loads but i found myself using it a lot more than the other. The normal melee attack takes about 3 hits to down a zombie (unless you are super lucky and its head comes off) while the other attacks always hits them down making it easier to just spam that and hope for the best. The gun controls are surprisingly good too with you using the right stick to aim and RT to shoot however its mostly pointless since some areas have infinitely spawning zombies though (zombies walk in from the background aka the 2.5D). Your weapons are also taken from you sometimes although this is usually to remind you that  the game is a platformer and not a shooter. It ultimately fit the plot quite well in my opinion.

Overall its a good game but not something that would appeal to a large audience. I’d recommend it to the type of people that want a short game with zombies that isn’t an FPS for once.

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