When I first saw Signalis, I was immediately fascinated by its futuristic sci-fi setting and the enigmatic aura that was brought along with it. I knew very little about it in my demo, but after my 30-minute playing time with the opening segment, I walked away with several questions about what lies in this mysterious adventure.
Signalis put me in my shoes like a Replica named Elster waking up from cryosleep on a deserted spaceship. While exploring, I quickly found out that I came across alien life forms that have infiltrated the ship, but which lacked any apparent intelligence other than their only known goal – to kill you. I also learned that the ship’s goal was to find planets that were habitable to eventually migrate to, and for some unknown reason, the ship landed on a snow planet.
Signalis – Screens from Humble Games Showcase 2022
I immediately felt trapped in a claustrophobic room on board the ship, where each room was small with little room to maneuver. This lack of capacity would have been even more effective if enemies would follow you into other spaces, but for whatever reason they do not. If you are able to escape, they will just stay where they were when you entered the next room. Having them continue to chase me through the entire ship would have given me a more sense of urgency and realism to the experience.
While searching for answers on the ship, I found documents detailing its purpose along with other lore that I was not able to connect any dots with as this was only a very small part of the full game. However, there were a few puzzles to solve, some of which required experiments such as leveling electric rods to drive a door or finding the right cushion combination to open an containment chamber.
When I got through, I was given access to several weapons, including a pistol and stun gun. Since Signalis is a survival horror game, resources are limited and hard to come by. Even the anesthetic rod has a limited number of uses. Not only are resources scarce, but so is your inventory. More than once, I found that I had one thing too many things on my person, which required me to deposit something in a storage box for storage.
Enemies can be weakened, but even with a gun, it never looked like they could be permanently neutralized. Once they are knocked down, you can beat them to exclude and preserve ammunition, but over time, they will inevitably rise again. Health is controlled in the same way as Resident Evil, where it appears through your vital signs, but you know when you’re near death because of the red aura on the screen outline. By using patches or repair sprays I was able to restore my health, but if I ended up dying, I would simply return to the previous room I was in.
Animated screens – Signalis
Escaping the ship was just a glimpse of what Signalis has to offer, and based on where my demo ended, there seem to be plenty of surprises when the full game is out later this year. I’m eager to learn more about Signalis’ history, the mysteries that lie on this unknown ice planet, and how it all falls into place. Hopefully everything comes to light.