Signalis is a survival horror game that turns up the terror when players have their backs against the wall. With several things to learn in the beginning, it can be difficult to get your bearings. Putting the information into practice can also put you in danger, not to mention balancing combat with puzzle-solving. If you aren’t sure of what you’re doing, you will fail.
Fortunately, there are some fundamental tips in Signalis that can help every player survive against the horrors that chase you. These tips will help you manage your resources while giving you the advice you need to tackle the game yourself.
1) Enemies don’t remain dead
You get a handgun and some ammunition shortly before you are introduced to the enemies of Signalis. They scream at you as they shamble toward you. Your first instinct will be to use your gun and shoot them, kicking them once they have fallen over.
There is nothing wrong with doing that, as you sometimes need to defeat enemies in order to retrieve precious resources or get puzzle hints. But enemies do not stay dead for long and will revive after some time has passed. Your ammunition is best conserved for dangerous situations. While it is possible to permanently remove an enemy with a Flare, it is a rare tool that should be used sparingly.
2) You can push enemies who get too close
If enemies get too close to you, they will attack. You’re not completely helpless if you are using your gun, because an enemy can be pushed back if they get too close. Simply use the Fire button (ie. R2 if it’s a controller) and instead of firing your gun, you will push the enemy back.
This is helpful for creating distance in a tight situation, allowing you to use your gun and continue firing at the enemy. The push also creates enough distance that running past an enemy is also an option. Ideally, you want to avoid being close to enemies, but a push can be the difference between wasting valuable ammunition and surviving.
3) It’s always possible to sneak past enemies
Enemies being nearly impossible to kill is an important part of Signalis, and you need to save your ammunition for more important situations. Unfortunately, that doesn’t change the fact that there are a lot of enemies in your path. Fortunately, the game isn’t cruel enough to force you to engage them. There’s always a way to get past enemies without combat, though it might not look obvious at first.
Most methods involve just moving slowly without running, putting as much distance between you and the enemies as possible. Others involve baiting enemies to chase you, then running around them to reach a doorway. Whatever it is, there’s always a way past enemies without fighting. If you have no choice but to fight, it will be obvious that there’s no other option.
4) Don’t immediately run back into a room where enemies noticed you
It’s tempting to think that enemies stop chasing you when you make it behind the other side of a door. What they are actually doing is a three-step process. They wait at the door for a few seconds, then begin retreating, and finally resume their previous position/patrol movements.
If you don’t pay attention or fail to give the process some time, you could re-enter a room where enemies are waiting for you. This is a great way to get hurt unnecessarily and waste valuable healing items. Wait up to a minute for the situation to cool down, then go back inside. The enemies will no longer notice you and you can safely move around.
5) Hold your aim on a target for more powerful attacks
When you successfully aim at an enemy, a red box will appear around them. It is large at first, but it becomes smaller as your aim begins to focus. Eventually, it reaches a point where it can’t get any smaller and your next attack is at its best.
Your next shot will be more powerful than usual in this state. For example, a regular enemy takes around 3-4 handgun shots to take down (not including kicking them when they are down). With focused aiming, you only need two. This is a great way to make your ammo go farther and make an impact where it counts.
6) Don’t forget about your tools
Tools are another type of weapon that you can equip with Elster, that sit in a separate slot from your firearm. While tools aren’t going to provide the amazing firepower of a gun, they have great utility that can get you out of tricky situations.
One of the earliest tools you encounter is the Disposable One-Handed Stun Rod, which can stun enemies temporarily. They will act like they have been hit by firearms, but get up faster than if they had actual bullet wounds. These Stun Rods are a great way to get out of a tricky situation without using bullets.
Others include Thermite Flares, which can remove an enemy permanently, or the Auto-injector which restores you to full health if fatally attacked. You have to equip them before they can be used, but they can save the day when firearms would fail.
7) Try every door to mark them on your map
Keeping track of your activities in Signalis can be difficult. Fortunately, your map is a great way to track your activities without having to constantly revisit rooms. The map will keep track of doors that can be opened, locations you haven’t explored, and activities that need to be completed.
It’s helpful to remind you about the objects/puzzles that you need to look out for, as well as show you areas where you don’t have the needed items. If you do have to revisit an area, it will be for an actual purpose, rather than wandering around not knowing what you are doing.
8) Save your game often and use dummy runs
Saving your game is highly encouraged in Signalis, and there are a few save rooms scattered around each level. You only have four save files, but you can easily make a save to record a safe run or when passing an important activity to prevent you from repeating it again.
Multiple saves are also great for dummy runs. You can make a save, experiment with different puzzle solutions and enemy tactics, then reset when you are done. This helps you not only anticipate what is coming next but also helps you understand what is essential for each puzzle.
9) There are boss fights
While having a boss fight isn’t some unexpected event for a survival horror game, it bears repeating in Signalis. It is easy to forget that you are just solving a mystery or avoiding enemies, but you do have bosses to fight. You can’t run and there isn’t an alternative solution other than fighting. Bring your best guns, ammo, and healing items.
It pays to watch a boss’s movements before shooting at them because you might uncover weaknesses or find ways to avoid their attacks. Whatever it is, you can’t avoid fighting and it’s a great time to bring out the ammo that you have been saving.
10) The solution for puzzles is always nearby
Signalis has challenging puzzles that can be infuriating to solve at times. It can feel like these puzzles have unclear solutions or the answer wasn’t explicitly mentioned. This can happen at times, but the solution has never been hidden from you. Instead, you have to search carefully and pay attention to clues.
Reading documents or configuring your radio will be essential to solving some of the harder puzzles later in the game, as well as examining every object that stands out. While it may not make sense at the time, it’s a great way to put two-and-two together to get the correct solution. This is made easier with dummy runs, where you can test solutions and then properly reload a game after doing experiments.