Violent undead puzzle platformer set in apocalyptic world.

What parents need to know

Positive 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.

Positive 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.


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.

Not applicable

Dialogue and diary text contains infrequent instances of profanity, including the words "hell," "damn," and "s--t." 

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Players pass stores advertising liquor. The name of the game's development studio contains the word "tequila."

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 kids can learn


Thinking & Reasoning

  • analyzing evidence
  • deduction
  • solving puzzles

What Kids Can Learn

Deadlight wasn't created with educational intent, and we don't recommend it for learning.

What kids can learn


Thinking & Reasoning

  • analyzing evidence
  • deduction
  • solving puzzles

Deadlight wasn't created with educational intent, and we don't recommend it for learning.

This Learning Rating review was written by Chad Sapieha

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.

Families can talk about...

  • 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?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360
Available online?Not available online
Release date:August 1, 2012
ESRB rating:M for Strong Language, Blood, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes

This review of Deadlight was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 16 years old Written byTemkple101 September 26, 2012

ok game

suckish game :l
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 13 years old Written bycerealkiller189 August 5, 2012

Gory game lacks its bite.

Ive got this game and have started trying it out pretty bloody but anyways it sucks not realistic i rather wait for Zombi U on wii u to come out.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent of a 12 and 13 year old Written byjarrto7 February 3, 2013

Fun but Dark

This is a fun game to play, however it is dark and heavy. Violence is not as big an issue as expected. Enemies (zombies) are all black with red eyes. They are also pretty scarce. May not be good for children under 13.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing


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