Tequila Works has just released its first game, and its Deadlight for Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA). For an initial release Deadlight is definitely something special. With its 2D/3D side scrolling gameplay style, Deadlight joins the likes of Limbo and Shadow Complex as the next big thing on XBLA. Deadlight breaks new ground as yet another Zombie survival horror game. With a well written and engaging story you not only want to play this game more and more, you almost feel obligated.
The story takes place in Seattle in 1986 after the war with the Shadows (read: Zombies). We aren’t told outright what happened to cause this “war,” but rather we pick up right in the middle of it all. Our hero is Randall Wayne, a grizzled zombie killing veteran who has seen his share of misery, death, and the flesh eating walking dead. In the beginning Wayne gets separated from his group and spend his time searching for them. On the way, Wayne meets a host of other characters that systematically progress the game as you attempt search and rescue missions all the while the landscape of Seattle plays in the background in dilapidated fashion.
The gameplay for Deadlight is fairly simple and straightforward. Much like Limbo and Shadow Complex, you are presented with puzzles that require you to get from one side of the screen to the other. Obviously, some are more complex as you go along. Scene transition is also a large part of the Deadlight universe. As Wayne goes from the sprawling outdoors to inside abandoned buildings the change in scale is fast and it looks great. The general art style of the game is really rewarding. I found myself just checking out the world during the times I wasn’t laying boots to zombie asses. Speaking of action, the zombies A.I. is exactly what you would expect. These aren’t 28 Days Later zombies, they lumber along slowly, but when they grab you realize that your margin of error is small. This ability to die easily lends to more intense gameplay, but unlimited continues allows you to take risk when trying to figure out puzzles. From axe wielding to firing a slingshot, you will get an array of weapons that help in your journey. All of which, adds a different level of fun to the game.
Overall, Deadlight is a winner for 1200 Microsoft points. If you enjoyed previous sidescrollers on XBLA than this is yet another to add to your game list. While we are in the dry spell for game releases right now, Deadlight comes as a nice oasis for true gamers, and casual ones alike. So go check out Deadlight, and aim for the head, always the head!