Sun. Dec 4th, 2022

Lately we’ve been seeing games set in outer space making a harder comeback than ever, but what about the survival horror genre? A horror subgenre that no doubt flourished in the late 90s and early 2000s, when series such as Resident Evil, Silent Hill, and Clock Tower paved the way for it.

Watch the Signalis trailer here.

Since then, this particular subgenre has suffered quite a bit. We’ve seen Silent Hill become something that doesn’t feel like Silent Hill anymore, and Resident Evil has dived into action rather than horror. However, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard recreated the Resident Evil series in 2017, and we’ll even get a Resident Evil 4 remake early next year. Maybe, just maybe, even Silent Hill will do the same with the upcoming remake of Silent Hill 2.

With all of that in mind, survival horror fans are certainly not starving at the moment, and while we wait for the revival of this classic, Xbox Game Pass is throwing a party. One of the key games, perhaps the main course of the mentioned holiday (or maybe the starter if you like The Evil Within 2 or Dead Space), is Signalis. This debut indie game from Rose-Engine arrived on Xbox Game Pass on October 27th and it was a tempting treat, just in time for Halloween.

Inspired by the aforementioned series, Signalis is a top-down 2D pixel art that puts you in the role of Elster. She wakes up aboard a dystopian facility and must navigate through scary corners and solve dumb (but fun) puzzles to get answers and find her partner.

As many locked doors and hostile robots keep you occupied, you will find yourself doing many activities that you have done before in decades old survival horror games. It pays homage to these games to a large extent, while remaining a genre in its own right. It’s atmospheric at its core, and it really sinks its teeth into you. Between managing your limited inventory and avoiding hostile enemies to conserve your ammo, you’re desperate for more answers.

Signalis is accompanied by an industrial lofi score throughout, taking you back to the Otherworld of Silent Hill in places. Not only that, you often learn more about Signalis from notes and flashbacks, which most horror fans will once again be familiar with; further clues to the dystopian capitalism and occult rebellion that this strange environment seems to be facing.

The room where the balance plate lives is shown.

I admit that Signalis is not a perfect game. The controls can sometimes feel a little off, and it’s easy enough to get stuck. However, it breathes nostalgia while being fresh and filled the Silent Hill-shaped hole in my heart. In an Xbox Game Pass subscription, Signalis is an exciting use of 5-6 hours of your time. Also, if you’re stuck, we’ve got some pretty handy Signalis guides, if I say so.

If you are not a Game Pass subscriber, Signalis is also available for purchase on all major platforms.