To get started, let’s take a look at the story behind Deadlight. Deadlight takes place during the year 1986 somewhere in Seattle, WA through the eyes of Randall Wayne…which I found surprising as I am from the Seattle area myself. The game starts off 145 days after the devastating “Patient Zero” plague infected mankind and most of the world. Leaving the world with only a few survivors, those that were infected became something called “Shadows”, zombie-like beings that want to eat anything and everything in their paths. Randall soon finds himself stranded after the Shadows break through their barriers, leaving him separated from the group of survivors he was with. Heading to the broadcasted location of a safe point, he hopes to find his wife and daughter once he arrives.
Deadlight was developed by Tequila Works and published by Microsoft Studios. Most people would consider it a zombie game, but to me it is much more than just that. The game takes the traditional zombie apocalypse story and turns it into somewhat of a Walking Dead tale, where you should be more afraid of the living than the dead.
The game was designed as a 2D platformer running on Unreal Engine 3 which, in turn, makes it unbelievably detailed. Deadlight reminds me of this old-fashioned title that I used to play called Flashback from back in the day, actually. The characters are extremely well-animated, and the graphics are beautiful. If you ask me, Tequila Works did a pretty good job designing this game. The voice acting is up to par and successfully sets the tone of the characters. You can hear the desperation in Randall’s voice as you make your way through the game.
To traverse the world, you use the traditional WSAD controls to run, jump, and climb obstacles in your path on the way to your family. Also, I have to admit some parts left me puzzled later in the game. Eventually, you will meet a man who names himself the Rat. Afterward, you’re forced to make your way through his survival test which involves pushing big blocks, working a slingshot, and using your brain to survive. As far as the combat system, you have access to a fireman’s axe and a pistol with limited bullets. Additionally, you have the ability to distract or lure the Shadows and use the environment to your favor, dropping a car on them or having them walk off buildings or into fallen power lines waiting to send the beasts to an electrifying end. The Shadows are not very dangerous when they are alone but beware when you have mass groups chasing you. Recommended advice from a fellow gamer: just run!
Throughout the whole game, you will find pages to a diary which explain the backstory of this post-plague universe. That is one big thing that I love about this game: the story itself is very detailed with narrative to the bone. Taking the time to read each page of the diary, listening carefully to the characters you meet down the road, is definitely worth it if you like to imagine a what-if scenario.
In the end, you can get Deadlight via Steam for a fair price; I would highly recommend trying this game out if you like zombie/puzzle games.