Signalis is not only a classic survival horror game, but also a psychological horror story with elements of cosmic horror, so what I am writing here will only scratch the surface. To find out what this game is really about, you need to play it yourself. You are Elster, a replica technician who wakes up from stasis and discovers that her spaceship has crashed and that pilot Ariane Yeong, the only other person on board, is not-found. Elster soon finds something under the icy surface of the planet that shouldn’t be there and receives a secret radio signal that changes everything.
Driven by a promise made to her lost partner, Elster makes her way through a seemingly leaved mining and rehabilitation facility, where she faces terribly disfigured characters who walk the halls and strike on sight. As she descends deeper into the complex and the mines, she experiences another replica with a dark Agenda, A young woman who has to carry her own burdens and strange visions of memories from another life. The world of Signalis is a bald, dark place made of concrete walls and buzzing CRT screens–a world where the totalitarian regime of Eusan is still present through surveillance, bureaucracy and propaganda.
As Elster travels to the secret government institution, she must find creative ways to overcome the many bureaucratic security measures. She has to use her Radio to decipher messages, open doors through Codes and key cards and solve logic-based puzzles.
When developing these puzzles, it was important for us that the solutions were not follish or far-fetched, but that they made sense both in the game world and for the player. For example, several parts of a tool must be combined in one place to make it usable, or a chemical must be used to dissolve something based on its actual properties.
Digital stations have been in use since the First World War and transmit encrypted messages via shortwave radio signals, often in the form of morse code or synthesized language. The content and sender of these dialing stations are not-known to this day. Most likely, many of these transmissions were sent by the intelligence services to their undercover agents.
Fans of cassette futurism can expect floppy disks, self-developed photos and old-fashioned operating systems, displayed on clumsy CRT screens. The latter is also reflected in the inventory of the game.
You will spend some time in this inventory because Signalis is a declaration of love to the classics of survival Horror games of the PS1 era such as Resident Evil and Silent Hill. Resources such as ammunition and health items are scarce and what you can take with you is limited, although a storage box allows you to exchange items as needed. To save resources, you need to decide when it is better to action or run.
The highly stylized graphics of the game pay to the brutalism and technology of the 80s and are subtly contrasted by occult themes. Our slow but intense directorial style is inspired by the works of Stanley Kubrick, Hideaki Anno and David Lynch, which is reflected in the almost experimental cutscenes and bold typography of the game. We were also influenced by The art of Mangaka Tsutomu Nihei, which is especially noticeable in the mainly black patterns of the replicas and the carefully placed contrast elements.