Let’s not beat around the bush – Zombie games have all but overstayed their welcome. There’s not a year that goes by that we don’t see these undead monstrosities making their way into a franchise that did perfectly well without them in the first place. In this case though it’s something different. It’s a 2D puzzle game meets Shadow Complex… and it’s fun.
As with all Zombie-based narratives the world is coming to an end and groups of humans are at it to survive and rid themselves of the plague. Set in an alternative history Deadlight takes place on 4 July 1986, with Randall Wayne being the protagonist. Things start off in a warehouse whereby he splits up with his current group of friends (Sam, Ben and Stella) in the search of his wife and daughter.
Though Deadlight is a 2D side-scrolling game it follows the tried and tested method that we once witnessed in Shadow Complex whereby you tackle a puzzle-like screen. Once you figure how to get your way past a door or over a wall it slides to the next screen. Your nemesis throughout the game comes in the form of those annoying Zombies (called Shadows in this game), and later humans, but outside of that there is very little else that hinders your progress. Armed with merely his arms in the first warehouse you need to climb ladders, hold on to overhead pipes and cross electricity and other forms of insta-death situations to survive incoming threats. Thankfully it’s not long before you find your first weapon.
An axe will come as a welcome substitute to purely pushing zombies over and running. Press the B button two swing and knock the zombies over and press and hold the B button to execute a finish blow while they’re squirming about on the ground. Every swing will see Randall’s stamina dropping, represented by a blue bar just below his red health bar. Randall has many basic but exceptionally satisfying moves in the game. As you can make up by now he can climb on or over obstacles such as ladders or walls, but he can also jump, wall jump and sprint. By pressing and holding in the RB button you can sprint right through wooden barriers or tackle zombies. He can crouch, Jump into a roll (for unsafe heights) and move objects.
Moving objects forms a great part of the puzzles in the game. At times you’ll have to move an object to get to areas out of reach, and sometimes you need to use force. Once you find a pistol on some mutilated corpse you’ll move down Shadows by ease with head shots, but at times you have to be tactical by blasting locks off doors or windows. When you’re not using some form of violence, to make your way from point A to B, you’re navigating death-defying areas that requires pinpoint accurate jumps and leaps. Unfortunately Randall is not the best swimmer in the world. Land in a pool of water and he’ll sink to the bottom like a rock. At the same time you can make easy work of Shadows by taunting them by pressing the Y button and watching them falling into spikes or water.
In all the constant rush it’s often a tough job watching out for extras, such as Randall’s diary pages, ID tags, First Aid boxes and scattered ammunition lying about. It’s not a very deep story (three scenes in all), but when you reach the end you’ll be satisfied with the five hours it took you to complete the game. Should you buy Deadlight? You’re dead right you should.