Ever wanted to parkour your way through depleted buildings, crushed hopes and lots of undead people? Deadlight is the game for you.
At the core, Deadlight is an incredibly linear sidescrolling action game or simply put, a “metroidvania” game. Oddly, Deadlight deviates from the metroidvania style, because being labeled as such a game would suggest a huge emphasis on exploration, in which Deadlight has none.
That said, Deadlight is a game that I very much adore for the graphics, gameplay and overall story. Yet, I believe the reason I love it so is because it reminds me of a lower budget Shadow Complex clone mixed with The Walking Dead.
The game starts off in the post apocalypse where you play as Randall, a former Washington State Patrolman who now looks like a hobo version of Solid Snake. As with all zombie stories, Randall has to split up from his group and claims he will meet up with them soon. Thus he gets to walk around the zombie infested world until he finds a gas station.
On approach he believes the occupants of the building to be friendly but surprise surprise, all the other survivors want to kill anyone that moves because why the hell not? Along this journey to meet up with his group again, he often splits off to go find his wife and daughter because every protagonist not only has to live in a zombie scenario, but they MUST break character and be super clumsy and somehow lose their family.
So he sets off trying to get to Seattle, only to find that Seattle is home to a lot of dead things. Not just the Mariners, but tons of zombies.
As such it’s up to the player to navigate around the city and try to find shelter. The levels feel very surreal and feature a LOT of atmosphere despite because of how desolate things are. Despite some of its pitfalls, the story is fairly well written, and leads up to a very gripping conclusion.
If you’ve played Metroid or Castlevania or Shadow Complex or any metroidvania like game, Deadlight is basically no different. You need to crawl, roll, run, jump, skedaddle and get smacked in the face a lot to survive. The gameplay formula is exactly the same, leaving the player with a classic playing experience seasoned with the addition of the undead. And the occasional moment of bad gameplay pacing.
In games such as these, you would hope that the physics would feel tight and fluid because of the amount of running and maneuvering you have to do to get around. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
See Deadlight suffers from “You can only grab this ledge if it’s a Wednesday and the little indicator appears” syndrome. This disease can lead to annoying symptoms such as “your jump distance will change based on how awesome we can make this jump look” and “You haven’t really climbed the wall all the way, even though you are gripping the edge and should totally be able to move over the wall.”
This became really frustrating in some levels because you have no idea if you’ll make that jump reliably or not. And of course, when you miss, the physics engine acts like the kid on the playground who never plays by the rules and taunts you on how you died for the 40 billionth time.
Sadly, Deadlight is not a very long game. At most it lasts about four to six hours, but it really offers a really interesting twist on zombie games. If anything, it’s definitely worth a look.