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Old school and modern at the same time –

“Signalis” combines playing tradition with amazingly self-assured presentation and plenty of style – a winning combination.

to Rainer Siegel

My spaceship crashed on an icy planet, beneath its surface: a sinister maze of abandoned factories, corridors and tunnels where mutant workers and hostile androids lurk. I myself am also a robot, to be precise: a female symmetrical mechanical unit.

Exactly what I’m looking for here and where the path leads me will be in the game “signals” Only gradually, obviously. First, you have to leave the dark wreck, in the glistening icy desert outside to land in the strange underworld that awaits. After a few moments of ambient sound and sound effects, classical music underscores the beginning of this adventure. Even the solid first ten minutes of this atmospheric-dense game makes it clear: in terms of presentation, “Signalis” is as sovereign as few, even greater, games.

Survival horror like back then

A survival horror game in a simple and elegant low-poly look that is on the one hand a very classic representative of its genre: I explore the dark game world room by room from an isometric bird’s eye view, fighting monsters and solving simple puzzles. As usual, space in my inventory is a very limited resource, just like ammo or a heal. Instead of fighting brutal opponents, he always prefers to dodge and run away.

“signals”Developed by Rose Engine and distributed by Humble Games, it has been released for Windows, PS4, Xbox and Nintendo Switch.

The background story, which tells of a totalitarian world of apartheid between androids and humans and also includes a bit of cosmic horror, is gradually explained through diary entries and short clips. In terms of gameplay and narrative convention, there’s nothing really new here. Thanks to the presentation, the small game presented by a German studio for two has become completely new and impressive.

Unique atmosphere, brilliantly organized

“Signalis” isn’t shy about leaving its players in the dark, so instead of jumping around with fear and awe, it relies on discomfort and plenty of atmosphere. The mysterious story, charged with symbolism and flashbacks, evokes memories of the atmosphere of the “Silent Hill” series, despite the SF theme.

How the exciting story is presented here with simple but effective means in the game’s graphics, the cinematics in the aesthetics of the anime and the typography are remarkable: where others explain too much or cling to the eternal movie paradigm, “Signalis” dares so much with style and self-confidence.

The fact that the gameplay itself, as already mentioned, is only a solid genre standard is not so important. Only some old-school conventions, like the aforementioned small stock, are probably really worth retiring. “Signalis” is further proof that extraordinary experiences can be achieved even on a small budget; A successful start not only for fans of the genre.