A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
There's a message of self-discovery, but it's hidden beneath many layers of violent, vaguely-defined chaos.
Positive Role Models
Elster uses guns to solve her problems, and most of the other characters also depend on violence to get what they want.
The game features a mostly female cast, though most of them aren't exactly what they seem on the surface.
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Ease of Play
The game features old-school survival horror controls, which can be an adjustment for players who are used to more "modern" controls. Some mechanics are also meant for players to discover on their own, which could lead to mild frustration.
Violence & Scariness
Most of the game features gore and viscera in the form of writhing masses of flesh and also various depictions of explicit violence – including characters getting stabbed in the eye/head and shot at point-blank range.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
There's a romantic subplot involving Elster, the main character, but there's nothing explicit or obscene present.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
There are very minor allusions to "contraband" within sets of notes players can find which imply drugs or alcohol, but it's intentionally unclear and left up to the player's interpretation of events.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Signalis is a downloadable single-player survival horror game available for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and Windows. Players will assume the role of Elster, a woman who wakes up from a long slumber onboard a decayed vessel that has long-since crashed onto a mysterious planet. Facing new, horrible dangers in dark places, Elster will use guns of different varieties to take on the infected enemies she'll come across, which will lead to violence and bloodshed. During some cutscenes, some characters are shot point-blank in the face and are even stabbed in the eye/head in rather graphic displays of violence. Signalis also brings forth the sensibilities of old-school survival horror games such as Silent Hill and Resident Evil, which can potentially isolate players who aren't used to that style of gaming experience. There are also puzzles within the game that require critical thinking, which can take a bit of time to crack. While the game features a largely female cast, things aren't quite what they seem on the surface as the game goes along, and the potential for positive role models and messages becomes lost in the violence and chaos of the game – as well as its mysterious and often-vague story.
Is It Any Good?
It's a challenge to merge old genres with new in a way that'll scratch that familiar itch and still feel relevant. Signalis perfectly captures the feel of the classic Resident Evil games while having its own flair and purpose. The moment players start in the abandoned vessel and begin exploring and gathering information, they'll discover remnants of something oppressive and cruel, and that sense of mystery only increases with every note, enemy, and area you encounter. While the game excels with shooting and combat, Signalis really makes its mark through its puzzles. Unique and clever, every puzzle creates a perfect balance between challenging and accessible – making players think meaningfully to continue onward. But the game rarely holds your hand or easily forks over the answers to in-game puzzles or riddles. It can be mildly frustrating getting stuck on a particular head-scratcher, but it gives you everything you need to overcome any potential obstacles.
Keep in mind that this is "old-school" when it comes to the unique visual style and how it handles itself, which might be off-putting for players that don't like survival horror. You only have six inventory slots throughout the entire game. While there are storage boxes available in every "save room" to put away things you don't immediately need, it's easy to come upon relevant objects you won't be able to get with a full inventory. That means trekking back to the nearest storage box to micromanage your belongings, which is a pain. The combat system also takes getting used to because engaging in every fight wastes sparse resources, leaving you vulnerable for later battles. The unraveling of the main story as players progress, equal parts engaging and terrifying, more than makes up for the minor flaws. Just when one question is answered, three more are asked, and the game sticks the landing during its conclusion. If you want a trip down memory lane that's fresh and innovative, Signalis is a game you won't want to miss.
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