GAME NAME: Deadlight
DEVELOPER(S): Tequila Works
PUBLISHER(S): Microsoft Studios
PLATFORM(S): Xbox Live Arcade
GENRE(S): Puzzle, Platformer, Shooter
RELEASE DATE(S): August 1st, 2012
As the hair covered man who calls himself ‘The Rat’ stands above you, you attempt to climb through his deathtrap of a maze. “Times have changed!” You call up to him, interupting his rambling. “It’s like I said Mr. Wayne, when times change, people must change…” This is the premise of the third Summer of Arcade Games, Deadlight. In what seems to be an alternate timeline stemming from the Cold War, you must traverse Seattle in 1984 searching for your friends and family after a group of ‘shadows’ (zombies) separate you from them.
The first thing you’ll notice about Deadlight is how similar it looks to one of my personal favorite Xbox Live Arcade Game’s, 2010′s Limbo. The world is almost entirely void of color, with Randall and all the Shadows appearing as simply black against a brighter background. While Tequila Works has done a great job to replicate the looks of Limbo, it falls quite short of the feel.
Deadlight is a multitude of different genres, platforming and puzzles being it’s strongsuit, but in the midst of all the tequila working at Tequila Works, someone thought it’d be a good idea to try and swirl all this into a shooter as well. Thich is where Deadlight truly falls short.
The first portion of the game will have you figuring out very tricky puzzles and avoiding shadows to try and make your way through Seattle. You’ll have to use various jumps and tricks to accurately land on platforms and get between buildings. About a third of the way through, you’ll be given a pistol. It seems like this was the game’s way of extending it self while dumbing down the gameplay, as you’ll countlessly be tasked with shooting something out of reach while a “monster -closet” of shadows constantly streams towards you, applying unneeded pressure that ultimately ends in death and frustration over and over.
While Deadlight’s puzzles’ are the best part of the game, they do get old and repetitive at times, eventually becoming so mundane you simply snore until it changes it up.
Deadlights story was looking great as well, and was the only reason I kept powering through. It’s filled with plotholes and cutscenes that makes little sense, ultimately ending in a boring resolution that kind of stops the game dead in it’s tracks. “Did that really just happen? That’s it?” Is how you’ll feel by the end of this game.
While I appreciate all that Tequila Works has done to this game and would love to award it a high score, I simply can’t justify a large number for this one. While Microsoft normally offers only the top tier for there Summer of Arcade promotions, they seem to have missed the mark with this one.