We’re seeing games set in outer space make a comeback harder than ever lately, but what about the survival horror genre? A subgenre of horror that, without a doubt, thrived throughout the late nineties and early noughties with the likes of the Resident Evil, Silent Hill, and Clock Tower series paving the way. But is Xbox Game Pass home to any must-play games in the genre?
This particular subgenre has suffered a little since. We saw Silent Hill become something that doesn’t even feel like Silent Hill anymore, and Resident Evil descended into action more so than horror. That said, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard re-established the Resident Evil series in 2017, and we’ll even be getting a Resident Evil 4 Remake early next year. Maybe, just maybe, even Silent Hill will do the same with the upcoming Silent Hill 2 Remake.
With all that in mind, survival horror fans are certainly not going hungry at the moment, and while we await the resurgence of these classics, Xbox Game Pass hosts a feast. One key game, arguably the main course of said feast (or maybe a 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 27, and what a tantalising treat it was, just in time for Halloween.
Signalis, which takes great inspiration from the aforementioned series, is a top-down 2D pixel art title that has you step into the shoes of Elster. She awakes aboard a dystopian facility and must navigate harrowing corners and solve obtuse (but fascinating) puzzles in a bid to get some answers, and find her partner.
As a myriad of locked doors and hostile robots keep you busy, you’ll find yourself completing plenty of actions you’ll have done before in survival horror titles from a decade ago. It pays homage to these games massively, while still being its own distinct take of the genre. It’s atmospheric at its core, and it truly sinks its teeth into you. Between managing your limited inventory and steering clear of hostile enemies to preserve your ammo, you find yourself desperate for more answers.
Signalis is accompanied by an industrial lofi score throughout, bringing you back to Silent Hill’s Otherworld in places. Not only this, but you often find yourself learning more about Signalis through notes and flashbacks, something most horror fans once again will be familiar with; further clues into the dystopian capitalism and occult uprising this strange environment appears to be facing.
I will admit that Signalis is not the perfect game. The controls can often feel a little off sometimes, and it’s easy enough to find yourself stuck. That said, it breathes nostalgia while being fresh, and filled the Silent Hill shaped hole in my heart. On Xbox Game Pass, Signalis is a thrilling use of 5-6 hours of your time. Also, if you get stuck, we've got some rather handy Signalis guides, if I say so myself.
If you don’t subscribe to Game Pass, Signalis is also available to buy on all major platforms.