Must know

What is it?: Psychological sci-fi survival horror inspired by Silent Hill.
Expect to pay $20/£16
Developer Pink engine
Publisher Modest games
Judged by Windows 11, Nvidia 2080 Ti, Intel i9-9900k @ 4.9 GHz, 32 GB RAM
multiplayer? no
Clutch Official site (opens in new tab)

Horror is hard to do right, especially if you don’t rely on cheap, reliable jump scares. That’s why the original Silent Hill trilogy are considered classics, while their many sequels and imitators have largely faded into obscurity. Despite being the debut release from small two-person indie studio Rose-Engine, sci-fi horror adventure Signalis joins that coveted pantheon as one of the best in the genre, and a personal favorite from a busy year.

At a glance, Signalis is familiar and accessible (down to the low-fi PS1-inspired graphics) to anyone who’s played a classic survival horror game. Played from an overhead perspective, there’s a labyrinth of interconnected rooms to explore, plenty of locked doors, a mix of logic and more abstract puzzles, and an assortment of monsters to shoot. Inventory space is precious, healing is finite, and the game can only be saved in safe rooms where you can store unused items in a storage chest.

(Image credit: Humble Games)

Aesthetically it also feels like a refinement of those PlayStation gems. Backgrounds are crisp, sharp pixel art, while characters are smoothly animated 3D models, always clear and legible despite their relatively small size. The UI is equally sharp, despite its diegetic retro-tech aesthetic, and the map screen is particularly good, automatically marking any door you’ve been near as locked, blocked or open. Audio-wise, it channels the best in the business, with some very Akira Yamaoka industrial drones accompanying quieter moments, chaotic, panicked sound during combat, and an assortment of nostalgic tones, beeps, and chants upon menu actions.

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By wy9m6

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