Sunday, 2 December 2012

Deadlight (XBLA) Review

Deadlight is available now on the XBLA Marketplace for 1200MSP.

I love zombies, or as they're called in this game 'Shadows' who doesn't? I know the market is kinda saturated with zombies at the minute but there is obviously a reason for that. Zombie games, when done well, work VERY well...and they bring in the money,

When I first heard of Deadlight I knew I wanted to play it. 2D Platformer-style game with added zombs?! YES PLEASE. This game merges the two biggest reasons I am constantly searching the XBLA Marketplace, and boy does it do it well!

The story is cool. Set in the past we learn there has been an outbreak of a mutated form of rabies, creating the shadows. The shadows are the walking dead, only looking for one thing, nice fresh flesh to sink their teeth into. I LOVE that this game mentions a mutated form of rabies, as it seems that if zombies were to become a real issue, that would probably be where it would come from. It makes the most sense, no?

The animation style is right up my street, cartooony comic-style cutscenes explain the story between all the 2D platforming goodness. The voice acting is good too. Not overdone and not cheap and tacky, refreshing after some of the games I have recently played. Once we get into the game itself the graphics continue to be awesome. They've created a 3D environment which looks amazing. One of the things I loved the most is that, whilst our character is moving on a 2D rail at the front of the picture, shadows animate in the background and come into the 2D plain for you to grapple with. The 3D animation and integration is really impressive and definitely helps this game stand out as one of my favourites this year. The movement you can see in the background is quite chilling at times and definitely helps to create tension. I found myself not breathing a fair few times whilst I desperately raced a shadow to the exit. 

Now many of you will be aware of my gripes regarding tutorials. Yes we don't always need them, but I do like them to be there. This games tutorial is PERFECT. It doesn't get in the way of the game, it works seamlessly to show you how to get the best from the game and doesn't really feel like a tutorial. A*!

The game plays so well and has plenty of finishing touches that makes this experience so brilliant. Little things like being able to taunt the shadows to lure them to your position. It definitely makes this game a little less frustrating and a lot more like a survival game. I loved the way you can barge through locked doors too. Very cool. And it is pretty HARD, which it should be. It is very easy to be overwhelmed by the shadows and not so difficult to kill them. They can take you down fairly quickly if there is a few of them and the addition of a limited stamina bar only adds to that pressure. Stamina drains relatively fast and once it's drained your screen goes all shaky, another neat feature. I HATED it, but in a good way because I only hated the stress it brought me and the fact I couldn't keep tapping 'b' to get out of trouble.   Stamina is a big thing in this game. The shadows are fast, faster than you UNLESS you are sprinting, so you really have to save it for those sticky situations where running is your only option. There are MANY points where you literally scrape through and survive, making this a much more realistic zombie game than some.

All is not lost though. Yes it seems pretty difficult being faced with the all these shadows, but in a lot of places you can use the environment against them. For example you can turn on the electrics and lure them into the current. Or under a car you are duly going to drop from a crane. All good fun.

The collectables were a bit of an issue for me. I LOVED being able to read Randall's diary and get a glimpse into who he is, and I found it was a really good, realistic story-telling device. What is not realistic is that these pages are scattered all over the place. WHY?! But the diary does drive you to want them all, you want to know the whole story and this is a good way to hear about the past without any jarring story-sequences. 

Now for the issues I had, and there really wasn't that many. One of which could probably have been solved if I just had curtains. This game is very dark. Literally pitch black in points. Playing this on a bright sunny day with my humongous windows made me turn the brightness all the way up to just barely be able to see. The game isn't losing any marks for that though, just be aware you may need to fiddle with some settings. Physics are sometimes quite realistic, like when Randall is wading through water, but at other times not too good. I have no problem with bad physics in a plat former, its the inconsistency that was a little annoying. The levels are not that realistic but they do work well. It's just hard for total emersion if you're looking around thinking 'there is NO WAY that would ever be there'. But that's it. A very small list of NIGGLES are the only negative things I could think to pick at.

This is definitely one of the best platformers I've ever played. Platformers generally lack story and this game has a great one. It feels different, fresh and new. I can honestly recommend this game WHOLE-HEARTEDLY to ANYONE. This game NEEDS to feature in your game list. BUY IT!

10/10 BUY IT!
A code was provided for the purpose of this review.


  1. Completely agree, this game was exceptionally well done!

  2. This game would be a logical continuation of the 28 Days Later story arc if the events eventually came to North America.