When I first laid eyes on Signalis, I was immediately fascinated by its futuristic sci-fi setting and the enigmatic aura that was brought alongside it. I knew very little about it going into my demo, but after my 30-minute playtime with the opening segment, I walked away with more questions about what lies throughout this mysterious adventure.
Signalis put me in the shoes of a Replika named Elster who wakes up from cryo sleep on a desolated spaceship. As I explored, I quickly found myself encountering foreign lifeforms who have infiltrated the ship, but lacked any apparent intelligence aside from their only known goal – that being killing 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 has crash landed on a snow planet.
Signalis — Screens from Humble Games Showcase 2022
I immediately felt enclosed in a claustrophobic space aboard the ship, with each room being small with little room to maneuver. This lack of capacity would have been even more effective if enemies would follow you into other rooms, but for whatever reason, they don’t. If you’re able to escape, they’ll just stay where they were when you entered the next room. Having them continue chasing me throughout the ship would have given me a more sense of urgency and realism to the experience.
As I searched for answers on the ship, I found documents detailing its objective along with other lore that I wasn’t able to connect any dots with, seeing as this was just a very small piece of the full game. There were a few puzzles to solve, though, some of which required experimentation like leveling out electricity rods to power a door or finding the right pad combination to open a containment chamber.
Progressing through, I gained access to several weapons, including a pistol and stun rod. With Signalis being a survival horror game, resources are limited and hard to come by. Even the stun rod has a limited amount of uses. Not only are resources sparse, but so is your inventory. More than once I found myself having one too many items on my person, requiring me to deposit something in a storage box for safekeeping.
Enemies can be debilitated, but even with a gun it never seemed like they could be permanently neutralized. Once knocked down you can hit them to incapacitate and preserve ammo, but over time they will inevitably get up again. Health is managed similarly to Resident Evil where it is displayed through your vital signs, but you’ll know when you are close to death because of the red aura on the outline of the screen. By using patches or repair spray I was able to recover my health, but if I did end up dying I would simply respawn back 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 looks to be plenty of surprises once the full game is out later this year. I’m eager to learn more about Signalis’s lore, the mysteries that lie on this unknown ice planet, and how it all falls into place. Hopefully all will be brought to light.