Signalis is not only a great survival horror game but also a psychological horror story with elements of cosmic horror, so what I write here will only scratch the surface. To find out what this game really is, you have to play it for yourself.
Signalis is an atmospheric, melancholy horror story set in a retrotech sci-fi world.
You are Elster, a technician replica, whose spaceship has crashed-landed, and pilot Arian Yong, the only person on board, rises from the stasis to find out that he is missing. Elster soon finds something hidden beneath the planet’s icy surface that shouldn’t be there, and he receives a mysterious radio signal that changes everything.
Inspired by a promise to her lost spouse, Elster finds her way through a seemingly abandoned retraining and mining facility where she has to deal with perverted people from the hallway and attack the sight.
As she dives deeper into the facilities and mines, she encounters another replica with a dark agenda, a young woman with her own burdens, and a strange vision of second-life memories.
The World of Signalis is a secluded and secluded spot of concrete walls and buzzing CRT screens – a world in which US monopolies are perpetuated through surveillance, bureaucracy and propaganda.
As Elster travels into an incomprehensible government facility, she must find creative ways to go through a number of bureaucratic security measures. She should use her radio to decrypt messages, unlock doors with codes and keycards, and solve logic-based puzzles.
In developing this puzzle, it was important to us that the solutions were not ridiculous or far-reaching, but made sense both in the game world and to the player. For example, to make a device usable, several parts must be combined at one moment, or a chemical must be used to dissolve it according to its real-world properties.
Underlining its Cold War-inspired setting, Signalis has real number station recordings.
Number stations have been in use since World War I and transmit encoded messages via shortwave radio signals, often in the form of Morse code or synthesized speech. The content and sender of this numbered station are unknown to this day. Most likely, many of these broadcasts were sent by secret services to their secret agents.
Fans of Cassette Futurism look forward to dealing with floppy disks, self-developed photos, and old-fashioned operating systems displayed on clinky CRT screens. The latter is also reflected in the game’s inventory.
You’ll spend some time on this list, as Signalis is a love letter for the classics of PS1-era survival horror games like Resident Evil and Silent Hill. Resources such as ammunition and health items are scarce, and what you can carry is limited, although the storage box allows you to exchange items as needed. To save resources you have to decide when it is best to fight or run.
The game’s clear, stylized visuals pay homage to brutality and 80s technology, and are subtly contrasted by subtle themes. Our slow-paced but intense direction style is inspired by the work of Stanley Kubrick, Hideki Eno, and David Lynch, as seen in the game’s almost experimental cut scenes and bold typography. We were also impressed by the art of Mangaka Tsutomu Nihei, which is especially noticeable in the predominantly black designs of the replicas and the carefully placed contrasting elements.
We’ve taken great care to create an uncomfortable atmosphere, droning soundscapes and a multi-layered story that will hopefully stay with you even after the game is over.
Signalis will be available worldwide on PS4 on October 27, 2022.