Signalis is a survival horror game resembling Another World and Heart of the Alien. It leans has a Lovecraft influence to it which is very cool! It is an excellent horror game.
It is set in a dystopian future and has a very dark atmosphere. The game takes place in a series of underground facilities and spaceships. It is claustrophobic and does an excellent job of making things creepy!
This was a nice contrast to Dredge. The two games take differing approaches to Lovecraft and are great games to play back-to-back. In many ways, it feels like a throwback to the golden age of survival horror in the late 90s.
TLDR: Signalis has Great Graphics, Great Gameplay, and a Terrific Story
Set in an underground facility, your character is looking for someone. You wake up on an abandoned spaceship and make your way to this place where your shipmate might be located. As you explore the facility, more of the plot is explained to you through notes, diaries, and reports that you find.
There is a class system in this world. At least, this is the closest thing that I can compare it to. You have several designations for the people who lived in this base. The rules are restrictive, and the punishments are extreme. At some points, you discover files that explain punishments for having contraband, swearing, and listening to radio signals.
Something happened in this base, and I have a feeling that someone went crazy. Information is restricted, and there is a lot of propaganda everywhere. This is a dark world that is fascinating to explore.
The story is a bit trippy. Reality alters as you travel through the base while looking for your co-pilot. Eventually, you find that masses of flesh have replaced parts of the environment. There is also a time loop that has appeared.
Near the end, you discover more of what happened. The Penrose program you participated in was a series of suicidal missions to find habitable planets. There are four possible endings:
- The “Leave” ending — In this ending, Elster cannot work up the courage to see Ariane again and carry out their promise, instead leaving the ship to succumb to her wounds in the wasteland outside.
- The “Memory” ending – In this ending, Elster awakens Ariane, but she doesn’t remember who Elster is nor their promise. Elster cannot follow through and stays by Ariane’s side until she succumbs to her wounds.
- The “Promise” ending – In this ending, Elster awakens Ariane, who remembers her and asks her to keep their promise. Elster reluctantly follows through, killing Ariane before succumbing to her wounds.
- The secret “Artifact” ending – In this ending, Elster performs an esoteric ritual that results in her apparent death. A memory of her and Ariane dancing can then be seen inside the wreckage of the Penrose-512.
The story is terrific! It was a fun game to play, and having the story open to interpretation was excellent. I’m unsure which ending is canon, and it probably doesn’t matter.
Like many survival horror games, you have to move a character around from a top-down perspective and solve some puzzles while managing an inventory of items. It is a familiar formula that is executed quite well in Signalis. Personally, I would have liked the game to use tank controls. I think they work better in a game like this.
The combat reminds me of the PS1 games Resident Evil and Silent Hill. It is very effective, as you might struggle to raise your weapon as the game tries to scare you!
I would say that combat is de-emphasized. You should try to avoid enemies if you can and conserve your ammunition. You do get some melee weapons, but using them runs the risk of getting killed quickly.
Your save points are computers. This is similar to the typewriters in Resident Evil. There are also boxes that you can use to store extra items. This is handy because you have a limited inventory of six items. This is something that I don’t like that much, but the player should expect this from a survival horror game.
The game is all about puzzles, like many other games in the genre. Some of them are obvious, and others require a little more thought, and they do get more challenging as the game goes on.
There is a run button, but you don’t move very fast. It is more like a quick shuffle. You also come across information telling you not to run because it will alert enemies to your location.
In many ways, Signalis is a stealth game similar to Metal Gear Solid in many ways. I keep thinking about the different PS1 games that this reminds me of. I don’t mean that in a bad way; it is just where my mind goes while playing this.
Overall, the gameplay is excellent. I only had a few minor issues that were my fault and had nothing to do with the game. It is an excellent game to get into.
The graphical style reminds me of Another World or Heart of the Alien. It is more detailed than those games, but it reminds me of that. The use of red and blue to highlight things is excellent. It stands out from the grays, blacks, and whites.
The game does an excellent job of showing items. They stand out from the mostly black and grey screen. The game also highlights objects that you can interact with.
This game is mostly in Black, Grey, White, and Red. A few other colors are used sparingly, but most of the time, your screen will be a combination of those four colors. It makes the game seems more claustrophobic and scary.
Signalis is one of the better-looking survival horror games I’ve played because of how simple the developers kept things. It makes the game better and more effective by having a simple color palette.
The cutscenes are cool! There is an anime art style to this, and I think it works well for Signalis. They add a lot to the game by not just having in-game graphics doing all the storytelling.
Overall, this is a great-looking game. It doesn’t need to look realistic to scare you. The game gives you the feel of isolation and claustrophobia that plays well in a game like this.
9/10. Signalis is a wonderful game that feels like it could’ve been on the PS1. The graphics are excellent, the controls are great, and the story is wonderful. This is a great horror game that mixes a dark future setting in with Lovecraftian lore.
- Great Story
- Unique Graphics
- Solid Controls
- Limited Inventory
- Menus can be confusing
Signalis was a wonderful game to play through! It takes me back to the 90s, during the golden age of survival horror. I also love the visual style that the developers used.
The use of Lovecraft in a futuristic setting was a nice change of pace. The other games set in Lovecraft’s world I’ve played recently have leaned into the ocean aspect. It is nice to see how these stories and themes could translate to the future.
There is also a feeling of hopelessness in this game. The people that work here are trapped in a totalitarian system that severely punishes any infraction. You also get some examples of how simple things like words get outlawed. It is a terrific setting for a game like this.
This is a strong contender for the best game I’ve played this year. It is also a game that I might revisit at some point.