The depths are full of secrets. Secrets that I’m not sure you would want to uncover. As you explore an almost derelict facility and piece together a scene of dread, fear, and horror you will question whether you really want to take that elevator down to find out the truth. Signalis is a cosmic horror experience with a retro Sci-fi setting that is one of my favourite games of the year.
This product was received for free
Platforms: PC Steam, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Genres: Survival Horror, Adventure, Puzzle
Steam Deck Verified
Enter a classic survival horror experience set in a dystopian future where humanoid androids known as Replika’s live among people every day. Elster, a technician Replika, is searching for someone. They believe they’re somewhere in a place called Sierpinski, a mining facility.
As soon as you enter you can tell something has gone terribly wrong here. Blood-stained walls and corridors are at every turn. The populace is either missing or has turned into nightmare creatures due to some kind of sickness. Search the dark and claustrophobic corridors and rooms for clues as to what has happened. Your journey deeper into the complex will be a terrifying one as you come to grips with what has happened here. Solve puzzles, and scavenge for weapons and ammo which are in short supply as you try to survive and find answers.
I almost never play horror games. However, when I first tried Signalis during a Steam Next Fest event I was hooked. As a lover of the Cosmic Horror genre, I was drawn in by the creepy setting and story that had been set up. Furthermore, the retro look and feel of the game immediately charmed me. I wanted to know more despite being scared of what was actually waiting for me.
Signalis is tense and creepy. However, I wouldn’t say I was really that scared by the time I got into the game. I was just enjoying it. The first few times you encounter enemies are scary and they are creepy as hell as their janky frames awkwardly stutter and stumble toward you.
However, after a couple of hours, I got used to them. That was until the lights were out in some places. Then I was scared all over again. The game does a really good job of making the threat ever present. Whilst not being too unforgiving. You have to keep your wits about you. That being said, you can outmaneuver them if you’re staying vigilant.
There is no doubt that the deeper you head into this old decrepit mining facility, the tenser it becomes. But it isn’t a relentless slog of jump scares and running away. The pacing and placement of enemies become a memory game. Remembering who was where and how to avoid them. Some enemies will get back up after a while if you shoot them. This means, using your gun to take them out could potentially waste a lot of ammo. Most of the time it’s best to use avoidance tactics. That being said, there are times when you will need to make use of the tools at your disposal.
Being a classic survival horror game you will have to worry about inventory management. You can only carry six items meaning picking and choosing what to carry will be important as you won’t want to constantly retrace your steps to go back to safe rooms for items. That being said, the spacing out of safe rooms is pretty generous. The majority of the game is split between traveling across 5-ish floors of the facility. However, going between floors is quick and easy with few different ways to get between them. Meaning whilst you will be retracing your steps a fair amount. It never feels like too much of a chore to do so.
With a handful of offensive weapons at your disposal such as pistols, shotguns, single-use stun rods, and more. You will want to swap out at times to try something different or conserve a little ammo. There will also be other passive items that will help you progress.
Work it out
Throughout the course of the game – around 5-7 hours, you will be solving your fair share of puzzles. The way in which some of them are designed is fantastic, making use of tools such as your radio signal tracker that you can switch and buffer through the frequencies. Additionally, other puzzles won’t need further items are can be solved on the spot. They’re also a really fun challenge and not overly difficult to figure out.
There was only one puzzle I got a little stuck on and I’m still not really sure if I missed a clue somewhere or whether it was simply a case of trial and error to solve it. However, I still enjoyed each and every puzzle I was presented with. Solving them was satisfying and each solution felt like it really pushed me on through the story and levels.
What is happening?
The story in Signalis is a little vague. Mostly presented through documents and diaries scattered about the complex. Some may find this a little frustrating especially if they don’t take the time to read things through. However, I loved it. Each nugget of information offers just that little more, a small piece of the puzzle of what is going on.
The world in your exploring feels believable it feels like it could exist in the future. Posters dotted about hint at the totalitarian nature of humanity. Diary entries flesh out characters. The facility paints a great – albeit pretty grim, picture of how things are run. There is depth to the lore and I want to explore more.
Signalis is fantastic. Everything from the setting, the visuals, the audio, and the story was a pleasure to experience from start to finish. I played through the whole game on Steam Deck and it was flawless,