Genre: Video GamesAdventure
Release Date: 08/01/2012
Platform(s): Xbox 360
Online Enabled: No
ESRB Rating: M
ESRB Explanation: For Strong Language, Blood, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes
Common Sense Says: Violent undead puzzle platformer set in apocalyptic world.
Common Sense Rates It:
Parents need to know
Parents need to know that Deadlight is a downloadable platform adventure game designed explicitly for older audiences. It contains a bit of profanity, but the graphic violence is what earned this one an M-rating from the ESRB. Players use an axe and a pistol to fend off attacking zombies, and blood splashes are depicted in silhouette as the undead take damage. That said, violence is typically a player's last resort. They're often much better off finding ways around enemies, sometimes solving contextual puzzles that put their thinkers to the test in the process.
- Families can talk about violence in media. How do you determine what's safe for older kids? How do you know what they're ready to see?
- Families can also discuss puzzles in games. Do you prefer word and number conundrums, or contextual brainteasers based on real-world physics?
What's the story?
DEADLIGHT, an adult-oriented side-scrolling platform adventure game, puts players in the shoes of a Canadian park warden attempting to survive a journey through the zombie-infested streets of the Northwestern United States in an effort to reconnect with loved ones. Traveling alone, players stick mostly to rooftops and underground tunnels as they try to avoid contact with shuffling undead, carrying off tricky jumps between fire escapes apparatuses, clambering across telephone wires, and sprinting over cars and trailers. Weapons, including an axe and a pistol, provide a means of both offense and defense, but a combination of sparse ammunition and overwhelming enemy numbers means players are usually better off simply avoiding the undead. Equally crucial is a series of contextual puzzles that have players pushing boxes, twisting valve handles, and shooting distant switches in order to create safe paths through deadly obstacles.
Is it any good?
This horror-themed adventure is among the prettiest -- and grittiest -- platformers ever made. The game's hero may only be able to move in two dimensions, but the levels -- particularly those set in urban environments -- have all the depth and much of the sophistication of a fully three-dimensional game, making for an unusual and unforgettable aesthetic. The atmosphere is similarly memorable, thanks to a compelling story filled with collectible narrative items, including diary pages and notes and artifacts left behind by survivors, that help breathe life into the world and illustrate the consequences of a zombie apocalypse.The only thing really hampering the experience is control. The command layout isn't particularly intuitive and your hero's movements are a little sloppy, which can lead players to overcompensate. Luckily, frequent checkpoints keep these problems from becoming too frustrating. Still, there's some room for improvement, should Deadlight ever enjoy a sequel.
How to play
Playbility: While not a particularly complex game, players must be extremely cautious. One missed jump could mean death, and zombies can overwhelm the player's character in a second or two if caught out in the open. Complicating matters, the controls aren't quite as tight as other platform adventures, which could lead to some frustrating slips and falls.
The Good Stuff
Messages: This game sensationalizes gory, fantastical violence. However, its story also carries themes of love, courage, and self-sacrifice, and emphasizes the importance of using wits rather than brute force to solve problems and overcome obstacles.
Role Models: The game's hero is a good man attempting to survive a journey through zombie-infested streets so he can reunite with his loved ones. He fights zombies, but generally does so only when he has no other choice. His courage and perseverance in a dangerous emergency situation is praiseworthy.
Ease of play: While not a particularly complex game, players must be extremely cautious. One missed jump could mean death, and zombies can overwhelm the player's character in a second or two if caught out in the open. Complicating matters, the controls aren't quite as tight as other platform adventures, which could lead to some frustrating slips and falls.
What to watch out for
Violence While players often choose to run away from the game's zombies, they have access to weapons -- including an axe and a pistol -- they can use to defend themselves from their attackers when cornered. Silhouetted blood gushes from wounds, and light red splotches of blood can be seen on the clothing of wounded characters in hand-drawn stills during the game's cut-scenes. Players will encounter dead bodies littering the environment, some lying on the ground, some hanging from ropes.
Sex: Not an issue
Language: Dialogue and diary text contains infrequent instances of profanity, including the words "hell," "damn," and "s--t."
Consumerism: Not an issue
Drinking, drugs & smoking: Players pass stores advertising liquor. The name of the game's development studio contains the word "tequila."