Deadlight Review plus bonus Rambling!
I finished the independently developed platformer Deadlight today. I’m not entirely sure where the title came from, but the game itself was a straightforward platformer that, for me, hearkened back to games like Another World and Blackthorne. It’s a fast-paced platform jumper with simple puzzles set in a zombie-infested alternate-past Seattle in the 1980s. That’s a mouthful!
The game opens with a gory scene of death, introducing the protagonist as a no-nonsense, no-compromise survivor within a group of softer-hearted townspeople. The group is trying to make it to the fabled “safe zone,” dodging zombie death along the way. As expected, the main character gets separated from the group and has to work to reconnect. The game takes you through a series of challenges as it introduces the tools at your disposal: an incredible (literal meaning: not believable) physique, a fireax, a slingshot, a pistol, a shotgun, and whatever grit you may bring to the game with you. The various “stages” include some that take thought and timing and others that are a run-as-fast-as-you-can-and-jump-and-dodge zombiefests. The differing stage types make the game a lot of fun.
The first two boards I had little to no trouble with, only dying a few times and rarely more than once to any obstacle. However, the third segment of the game changed its nature partway through, making it more about mindless trial-and-error than fast-paced decision making or reflexes. I was a bit disappointed with that, but the final stage got away from that habit as you had to escort another character away from trouble. I like being challenged to think and react quickly, but being mercilessly mauled at every turn by enemies I had no way of knowing were there until they were mauling me ceases to be fun. To top that off, in one small board you’re challenged to run through a collapsing building, and I died over and over to falling debris. I tried literally 20 or 30 times to see what I was doing wrong before I gave up and looked it up – one of only two places I had to seek outside help for. It turns out there was a bug in that section that could cause the ceiling pieces to fall incorrectly. Upon reload, I one-shotted that board; I had been stymied by a bug that looked like a challenge.
Luckily, only about 20% of the game felt that way. The rest of the game was an atmospherically dark and enjoyable cheapy, which of course made it even better. I just met it’s “Ed value” (meaning one dollar per hour played), but only because I bought it on sale. I’d recommend you give this game a try if you enjoyed thoughtful platformers, though I’d recommend Mark of the Ninja first, as it was more fun and longer.
On some other notes, I’m headed out to PAX East this weekend, so there will not be a Friday post, and the Monday post will be later in the day – if I’m up to it. I’m excited about getting back together with my NY and SC friends, seeing some conference-goers and other bloggers I’ve only met once in the past, and of course seeing the many different presentations and ideas that are offered throughout the weekend. If you’re going to be there this weekend, give me a shout here and we’ll meet up!
Also, I just started playing The Walking Dead, which feels more like a choose-your-own-adventure than a game, but is still compelling me to play it more than any other game I’ve played recently. I’m at work now, itching to get home to find out what happens next. Regardless of it’s “game” or “non-game”-ness, I’m hooked!
Stubborn (in Boston by Friday morning)