They say everything old is new again, and that’s definitely been the case for survival-horror games lately. Full remakes, remasters, and reboots have made the headlines in one of gaming’s more underserved genres, with no end in sight. So it’s been an exciting change of pace to play Signalis, which is blatantly inspired by landmark franchises like Silent Hill and Resident Evil, but offers its own original horror universe to explore.
Signalis doesn’t look exactly like the games that inspired it, but it only takes a short while before a veteran of the genre knows what they’re in for. The top-down 2D pixel art isn’t a precise callback to its spiritual predecessors, nor is its lack of voice acting, but as soon as you start finding door unlock codes on the back of photos you investigate in your inventory screen, memories of the Raccoon City Police Department or Brookhaven Hospital will inevitably come flooding back.
As its protagonist, the robotic LSTR (pronounced Elster), moves through darkened hallways and abandoned dorm rooms set aboard a futuristic space vessel seeking habitable planets for its dystopian “Nation” to conquer; she walks, runs, aims, and carries a gun just like Jill Valentine or another horror alum of the PS1 era. Searching behind every door that isn’t “jammed on the other side” for her missing human companion, the story unfolds in a way you’ve likely seen before–as though you’re perpetually falling into a world you might not be prepared for, but you can’t turn back.
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