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ScrewyAurum

Deadlight

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Developer: Tequila Works

Publisher: Microsoft Studios

Platform: XBLA

ETA: Aug 1st 2012

 

 

 

 

Teaser

 

 

 

 

"Surviving is much more than a daily routine in the original cinematic puzzle platformer Deadlight, where players cross the American west coast in an apocalyptic world where there is no reason to exist but no alternatives for those who cling to hope."

 

 

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Edited by ScrewyAurum

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Indie studio Tequila Works has announced that its debut game, Deadlight, will be published by Microsoft Studios exclusively on Xbox Live.

 

Taking place on the American west coast in 1986, Deadlight is a post-apocalyptic survival horror puzzle platformer (that's a mouthful), with you taking control of the wonderfully-named Randall Wayne. You won't find many heroes called that!

 

"Being published by Microsoft Studios, one of the world's largest publishers, is a true reward for all the team's hard work," said Raúl Rubio, CEO and Creative Director at Tequila Works. "The opportunity to work with first-party publisher Microsoft Studios is a dream come true, and shows their commitment in the talent of small independent studios."

 

Tequila Works is a Madrid-based studio comprised of veterans from such titles as Commandos, Motorstorm, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, Diablo III, Heavy Rain, and Overlord II.

 

 

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Many horror games attempt to create an atmosphere that screams hopelessness, loneliness, and despair. Some succeed better than others. Deadlight establishes an unsettling tone immediately without any big tricks or fancy hooks. From moment one, you enter a zombie-filled, apocalyptic city so consistently bleak and miserable that there's little left to live for.

 

That's Seattle for you.

 

The use of bright light is often more evocative than Deadlight's darkness.

 

The 1980s urban setting really helps reinforce the notion that you are alone and stuck with yourself. The Seattle streets are filled with abandoned cars, buildings are boarded up, and electricity is -- except for the odd lethal live wire -- nowhere to be found. News about how or why the world ended isn't accessible on the internet. Technology hasn't reached the point where the solution to all problems sits in your pocket. Deadlight delivers explanation via discovery. Digging someone's ID out of their wallet, for instance, or stumbling upon a piece of poetry scribbled on scrap paper. These minor events help ground everything to make Deadlight more relatable.

 

As you make your way through the 2D environments, you'll take in what's left of the world and try not to let madmen eat your brain. Bashing the undead with a fireman's axe slows you down and puts you at risk of being tackled to the ground, and firing a gun attracts more attention than it eliminates. Flight is almost always better than flight, and Deadlight always stacks the odds against you.

 

The limited odds of surviving an attack (and the short supply of weaponry) encourages you to run, jump, climb, and do whatever you can to get away from the omnipresent enemy. That's fine. Mobility is fun.

 

Necessary? Nah, but it looks rad.

 

For the most part, Deadlight is slow. Navigation and traversal look inelegant, but speed and precision aid in your struggle to fight against the world that's out to kill you. Oftentimes, though, moving through empty areas is about letting the universe sink in before you take action against it. The smooth pacing and sharp, shadowy aesthetic give Deadlight a distinct identity on Xbox Live Arcade and beyond. It focuses on its brooding tone, glum music, and the emptiness of Seattle's streets and structures. Because of this, action amplifies tension in an extraordinary way when everything implodes.

 

After a few minutes of hopping off ledges and leaping over fences, setting off a car alarm can make you jump in a different kind of way. Seeing a zombie horde swarm the new sound inspires a fierce panic. So you run.

 

This particular chase scene leaves a lasting impression because the world is designed to keep the main character from looking like a badass. He really is a struggling survivor stuck in the aftermath. He'll trip over hazards and narrowly evade grabby hands. He's only barely nimble enough to kick off walls, grab a ledge, and climb his way out of one situation and into the next.

 

Stop firing that gun! Don't you know anything about the zombocalypse?

 

This is a character who is more desperate than capable, and it's one of the largest reasons Deadlight leaves such an excellent first impression. It's a survival horror game in the truest sense, a 2D reinterpretation of the genre's early days. The scares don't come from the monsters, necessarily, but because of what you can and can't do.

 

This is the kind of intriguing, under-the-radar game that's destined to attract a huge cult following. With any luck, it'll find itself standing front and center in the Summer of Arcade spotlight.

 

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