Signalis is an Arctic horror film recreated as a cyberpunk anime from the 1990s.

Signalis has been on my radar for a while, with developer rose-engine initially releasing a teaser for the anime horror back in 2018. It returned tonight with a new little clip to kick off the Tribeca Games Spotlight at E3.

Signalis, a fixed-camera thriller stumbling through a monster-infested installation, is a clear nod to early Resident Evils and Silent Hills. It’s even done in the low-poly PS1 style that’s so popular these days.

However, Rose-style engine’s is distinct, even as it draws inspiration from the greats. A very disturbing, unnerving movie set in a bleak arctic facility that quickly conjures up images of The Thing. The usage of analogue technology also harkens back to Alien Isolation and previous mecha shows. Broken UI and sceneries that alternate between wide pixel-art and cinematic viewpoints give everything a true feeling of unpredictability, all while being accompanied by Chopin’s Raindrop prelude’s soft piano melodies.

Of course, there’s the stress of shunting a figure about a room with cumbersome controls as a thrashing horror with a leg for a face writhes and lashes at you. Screens flash red, with simple user interfaces that scream “compartmentalising trauma.” Snow pelts the windows of a sunken ship, and blood stains a tunnel you can’t help but descend.

It’s a vibe, and I’m really into it.

Alexander Zwerger and Barbara Wittmann, Rose-engine developers, have been working on Signalis since at least 2014, and the pair aren’t quite ready to let this monster loose just yet. When they do, you’ll be able to play it on Steam.

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