Signalis (I’m So Confused Yet So Entertained Survival Horror)


This is why Deaf Sparrow exists. To find these hidden indie gems that knock the socks off of the tired, repetitive crap coming from AAA developers today. Signalis feels familiar, yet utterly unique in it’s execution thanks to its not-so-subtle nods to survival horror of yore, and excellently confusing story, and frankly breathtaking worldbuilding culminating in a masterful experience. However, the game falls ever so slightly short in one area of tedium, its extremely limited inventory system. Signalis very much wears its influences on its shoulders. From both the likes of Silent Hill 2 with its red-flash save screen, and Resident Evil with its body burning mechanics, this one will feel extremely familiar to fans of the origins of survival horror. Yet, while some might call this game derivative in its references, I would consider it more of an evolution of classic mechanics.


Signalis evolves the survival horror genre with its fantastic puzzle system and gameplay. Most of the game revolves around fixed 3rd person camera action, with a clunky aiming system and an inability to truly take down monsters. The multitude of weapons, unique ways to use them with different ammo types, and auto revive system works well. Most importantly, I never enjoyed puzzles as much as I did in Signalis. In fact, certain puzzles were layered, where once a puzzle was complete, was actually a new puzzle that had to be solved to evolve the understanding of another puzzle later down the line. Nothing felt inconsequential, with every note picked up evolving your understanding of the world ever so slightly. This all culminated to the final story beat that was truly interesting, almost to a heartbreaking extent. However, the only thing that held Signalis back was its frustratingly sparse inventory mechanic. I’m a huge fan of survival horror’s limited inventory or “inventory Tetris” mechanic. However, Signalis forces you to use an effective 4 spaces of inventory with rooms often filled with at least 5 items. On top of that, you cannot stack ammo, you cannot combine that many items, and you can’t ever improve your inventory throughout the game. I found it incredibly tedious making two trips from a room back to the storage crate simply because I didn’t want to leave resources behind. Doing this multiple times got extremely old very fast, yet didn’t manage to overtake the masterful work that Signalis was. I’ve intentionally left this review vague because I think the story beats will hit hardest if you experience it yourself. Go pickup the best traditional survival horror in ages, it will be well worth the asking price.


Signalis Official Steam

Written by Steve, Cleaver of Plebian Flesh

rose-engine (developer), Humbles Games, Playism (publishers)
4.96 / 5