Daylight plunges you into darkness every time, but it’s never the same

daylight plunges darkness every time never screen2

For more check out our full Daylight review.

When it comes to survival horror games, there is a flaw inherent to the vast majority: It just isn’t all that scary to come face-to-face with a screaming monster when you have hundreds of rounds of ammo and enough weaponry to invade Luxembourg. It also becomes far less intense if you want to replay the game, since you’ll already know where everything is and what is waiting for you around the corner.

But what if you didn’t have any weapons? What if you couldn’t possibly know where you were going each time you fire up the game, even if it’s not your first playthrough?

That’s the idea behind Zombie Studios’ downloadable, survival horror title, Daylight, coming to the PC and PlayStation 4. You have no weapons of any kind, minimal light, and the levels are all procedurally generated, meaning they are always different. We recently had the chance to check out a few levels from the game (including the same level recreated) in a recent hands-on demo.


Screen5Run run run. Daylight begins with a case of amnesia. You step into the shoes of a woman that awakens in a derelict hospital, with no memory of how she got there. Naturally, the dark and crumbling house of healing is haunted and filled with things that want to do harm to you. They are evil, it’s kind of their thing. How you wound up in this place, what happened to your memory, and where the strange, ritualistic carvings on you arm came from are all at the heart of the mystery. 

Never the same. The story is only part of the hook of the game. Each time you enter a new section, you are stepping into an area that is completely original and created just for your playthrough. That’s the procedural generation at work. There will be some similarities of course, but where you need to go, the collecting of vital items, and locating secrets is different each time. 

There is, however, a central storyline that ties it all together. You piece it together organically as you play, collecting notes, files, and the odd exposition-driven collectible. With the game’s ever-changing nature though, you may not be able to pick up everything in one playthrough. That shouldn’t negatively impact the story in a drastic way, but if you want to know absolutely everything – the levels may change, but the particulars of the story don’t – you may need to play through the six-ish hour game more than once.


Screen1The goal is to survive. Daylight is a true survival horror game, with an emphasis on survival. You begin with nothing but the light on your cell phone. You will find a few tools along the way, but no weapons – there is no combat. Your goal isn’t to defeat the evil entities coming for you, but rather to run for your life.

Along the way you’ll also find other light-emitting objects, including a glow stick and flares. The glow sticks are especially handy, as they can help to further highlight secrets in the level. In one section of the demo, the path appeared to dead end in a doctor’s office. The bookcase seemed to be the obvious place to look for a secret, but using a glow stick showed that a lamp on the table hid the switch needed to progress. That was a necessary step to proceed, but the glow sticks can also help to uncover secret items and whatnot. 

Explore and advance. The sections, at least the ones that were on display, are locked by a magic-barred door. In order to advance, you need to collect the scattered sigils required to break these barriers. That means you’ll need to explore. As you wander, you’ll come across distortions, shimmering masses of supernatural light containing things that want to do you harm. You may be able to avoid these for the most part, but once something is locked on, you need to run. You’ll know you’re in danger when the carvings on your arms become more pronounced and the display on your cell phone – which also doubles as a map – becomes distorted. When this happens, you are in deep trouble.


Screen14Abandonment issues. Even though the hospital you are in changes every time it is generated, the general aesthetics remain consistent. As you would expect of a game like this, the setting is suitably derelict, and filled with disturbing imagery. The whole presentation is helped by the enhanced power of the PS4, and the game looks just as good, if not better, on PC (though our demo was PS4 specific). Paint cracks off walls, and rubble is scattered throughout the map. Abandoned wheel chairs are abandoned and rusted over. Some natural light occasionally filters into the area you are in, but for the most part, the world is pitch black, illuminated only by the weak glow of your phone for the majority of the time.

In a game like this, presentation is key. The atmosphere is as important as any aspect of gameplay, and Daylight is all about the atmosphere. Sounds are an important facet of the game, and you’ll hear creaks from the wood as well as the odd, inexplicable noise from just out of sight. It’s all meant to unnerve you, and it works. 


It’s difficult to really give a proper recounting of a game like Daylight after a few, brief playthroughs, because what we saw and experienced won’t be the same for anyone else. A game like Daylight requires experimentation and exploration. What we saw was encouraging though, and we can’t wait to try the game out on a dark night with the lights off when it is released on PC and PS4 on April 8.

Product Review

Get crafty as you scavenge your way through Far Cry New Dawn's wasteland

Far Cry New Dawn is more of an extension of Far Cry 5 than a full blown sequel. Its focus on crafting and building up the world makes it a great open world shooter and an overall rewarding experience.

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.

Need help getting the Sleeper Simulant in 'Destiny 2'? We’ve got you covered

The Sleeper Simulant is one of the coolest new Exotic weapons you can unlock in the Warmind expansion of Destiny 2, but it's an involved process that will take awhile. Here's everything you need to know.

Thrive in the nuclear apocalypse with our Metro Exodus survival guide

Metro Exodus is a difficult shooter, especially if you're new to the series' blend of stealth, action, and scavenging. Here is what you need to know to survive the nuclear apocalypse.

Here's where Xur is and what he has for wares this week in Destiny 2: Forsaken

The weekly vendor in Destiny 2: Forsaken always brings Exotic weapons and armor, some of the toughest loot to find in the game. Here's everything you need to know to track down Xur: Where he is, when he shows up, and what he's stocking.

How do the revised Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles stack up?

Microsoft's new Xbox One S and Sony's PlayStation 4 "Slim" have bucked the generational gaming console trend. But which of these stopgap systems is worth spending your paycheck on?

Here's our Champion's guide to picking the best character in Apex Legends

Apex Legends' use of heroes with different abilities helps separate it from other battle royale games. To help you choose your legend, we've put together a legend guide detailing their abilities, strengths, and weaknesses.

Transport your Nintendo Switch in style with these nifty cases

The Nintendo Switch, which boasts both wired and handheld modes, needs a good case to ensure it doesn't get beat up while you're on the go. We scoured through dozens of Switch cases to bring you the best ones.

These are the best weapons for taking down mutants and bandits in Metro Exodus

Metro Exodus is a very difficult game, and choosing the right weapons is key for surviving the post-apocalyptic Russia that 4A Games has created. These are the best weapons in Metro Exodus.

Exotic Masterwork Weapons are in Destiny 2. Here's how to upgrade

Destiny 2's new Masterwork gear offers a number of special bonuses. Here is what you need to know about it, including how to find the gear in the game and even create it yourself.

How to keep a PS4 in your pocket with the PlayStation Mobile app

Sony built the PlayStation 4 with smartphone and mobile integration in mind. Take a look at our guide for connecting your smartphone or tablet to a PS4, so you can get the most out of the system while on the go.

You're not a true fan without these Nintendo Switch exclusives

Who doesn't love a good Nintendo game? If you're looking for great first-party titles for your Nintendo Switch, take a look at our list of the very best exclusives available right now.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!