Over the years, we have seen our fair share of zombie-based games being churned out by developers, so much so that there are debates going on whether or not the video game market is being overly saturated by the zombie shoot-em-up genre. From the ever popular first-person shooter Left 4 Dead series to the survival-based masterpiece The Last of Us, gamers are literally spoilt for choice when it comes to zombie games because well, there are hundreds of them on the market right now. So when Madrid-based developers Tequila Works released their own zombie survival game titled Deadlight, I did not give it a second look because initially I thought that it is just another shoot zombies, ask questions later kinda game.
How wrong I was…
As I was navigating through the labyrinths of YouTube looking game walkthroughs I came across one on Deadlight done by theRadBrad (Please do check out his channel. It’s a great source for game walkthroughs) and I was instantly impressed by how well the game is done and how different it is from the other generic zombie games. So impressed in fact that I instantly purchased the game right after watching the walkthrough. And it didn’t hurt also that I bought Deadlight during the Steam Summer Sale and the game was on sale at that time. I did not play it straight away though as I was in the middle of another game so when I finally started playing Deadlight a week later, I knew there and then that I was in for a treat.
When I said earlier that Deadlight is different from the other zombie games, I really do mean it. For one, it is NOT a first-person shooter. As a matter of fact, it is not even a shooter at all (guns will be introduced later on but they are just tools for escape purposes). What it is in fact is a side scrolling platformer much like the old Mario games but unlike Mario, Deadlight is set in a 2.5D environment where during gameplay you can see stuff that are happening in the background. Even though all the action is taking place in the foreground, there are some parts where you will be interacting with things in the background, like the helicopter chase scene later on in the game.
Get AWAY from the choppa!
Set in Seattle in 1986 in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse, you take on the role of Randall Wayne, a Canadian park ranger who after separated from a group of fellow survivors, sets out to find his missing family who he believes is in a “safe zone” in Seattle. As you traverse across the city, you will come across vicious zombie hordes known in this game as “Shadows” and a dangerous group of vigilantes known as the “New Law”, who have established themselves as the city’s de facto authority. Since this is basically a survival game, you will have to use the environment in order to survive and escape danger posed by the two groups to bring you one step closer to finding your family.
As I have mentioned earlier, Deadlight is a side-scrolling platformer which means that the way you control your character is limited in a 2D sense. You can move back (left direction) and forth (right direction), jump, crouch, climb and descend ladders and fences, hang from wires as well as jumping off walls. What you cannot do is move into the background or enter environments off the aligned path. You will need to use these skills to figure out a way to escape a sector of the city that will be full of Shadows, traps, vigilantes etc. Your reaction need to be fast, as there are certain parts of the sector where you will have to use said skills in quick succession to maneuver you way out of tight spots.
What I found challenging about this game is that it forces you to not just use your physical skills but mental as well. Each level that is infested with Shadows is designed in such a way that you are encouraged to avoid them as much as possible instead of engaging them in combat. At the beginning of each level, you are able to scout the visible surrounding area to try and use it to your advantage to proceed to the next one. Why I said “visible” is that unfortunately, the game doesn’t allow you to view the area past what is currently shown on your screen. The only way to do that is to move forward, and there is no telling what danger is waiting for you there.
Let’s see what’s behind door number one!
There are some levels where you will need to rely on some extra firepower to force your way through. At the beginning of the game you will be equipped with an axe that can be used to hack Shadows and break through barricades. Each swing uses stamina so it would be wise to minimize its usage and don’t go all Gimli on those poor helpless Shadows. Guns in the form of a revolver and a shotgun will be provided later on in the game but ammo will be extremely limited so only use them when it’s absolutely necessary. When using a revolver, you will need to manually aim for the Shadow’s head and shoot for a quick kill otherwise you will be wasting precious bullets killing one Shadow. A slingshot will also be provided but that can only be used for solving puzzles, not killing.
When the going gets tough, the tough gets hacking and shooting.
As you progress through the game, if you are sharp enough you will be able to find many hidden collectible items spread across the city. Among them are pieces from Randall’s diary, which will reveal his backstory and events leading up to the outbreak. Besides that, you can also find personal items lost by people during the outbreak. Other items you can find are 80’s handheld consoles and identification cards of infamous serial killers, although the photos used are different. You can access all found items in ‘Randall’s Memories’.
The aesthetically stunning visuals especially of those in the background has got to be Deadlight’s standout feature. Where the foreground is usually darker than normal with Randall’s silhouetted figure running past danger, the background is so detailed and beautiful that you can’t help but stop to admire it for a while before continuing. Of course, not all levels offer gorgeous background scenes. The sewer levels mid-game are such a dark and murky contrast to the beautiful city levels that it is sometimes hard to see what’s ahead of you. That itself pretty frustrating because the sewer levels have some of the hardest obstacle courses in video game history and it will take several time-consuming runs before making it through.
Beautiful, in a gloomy spooky kinda way.
Overall, this game offers a different refreshing take on the zombie genre with its unique 2.5D style side scrolling platform. The game’s storyline will keep you occupied but unfortunately it is too short for my liking. I managed to finish the game on normal mode in about 5 hours although I wish it had more. The game doesn’t offer any side quests so basically once you’re done with the main story that’s it, you’re done! The puzzles are challenging enough and there are some parts that are so hard to get through on the first run that you will need several attempts before making it through and that can be frustrating. Finally, Deadlight offers some of the most breathtaking visuals and that alone can make this game fun to play.
And with that we have come to the end of the review for Deadlight. If you like this post please do share it and if you have any suggestions, please leave a comment. Also you can check out theRadBrad on Youtube for game videos and walkthroughs and if you like what you see be sure to leave a like and subscribe. Deadlight is currently available for purchase in Steam and Amazon for only $14.99. Thank you very much for reading and have a great day ahead!