A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What 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.
What's it about?
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.
Talk to your kids about ...
- Platforms: Xbox 360
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: analyzing evidence, deduction, solving puzzles
- Price: $15.00
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Microsoft
- Release date: August 1, 2012
- Genre: Adventure
- ESRB rating: M for Strong Language, Blood, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.