If you had any lingering doubts about whether Cormac McCarthy really is this year's zombies, then let Deadlight solemnly persuade you that it's The Road rather than Romero that's currently foremost in gaming's collective consciousness. You'll see the novel's influence in Naughty Dog's The Last of Us, and you'll have seen it in Ubisoft Shanghai's surprisingly coherent view of a post-apocalyptic world, I Am Alive.
And you'll see it again this summer in Deadlight, one of the brightest propositions in store for Xbox Live Arcade, and quite possibly the sparkling gem in this year's Summer of Arcade. It helps that in many ways, Deadlight brings to mind two previous summer beaus on the 360's download service, Limbo and Shadow Compex, with its side-scrolling 2D gameplay that's told with a strong artistic bent.
Deadlight's set against a post-apocalyptic backdrop that's riddled with the walking dead. It's a scenario whose weary familiarity is countered with often breathtaking art design, its lighting veering towards monochrome while its ambiance lays on a thick, melancholic horror. (Spanish developer Tequila Works comprises many ex-MercurySteam staff, and the quality of both Jericho and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow seems to have carried across with them.)