John previously described Big Robot’s The Signal From Tölva [official site] as “Far Cry meets a 1970s sci-fi book you’ve found in a charity shop.” I like that description, but I didn’t play the hands-on when I was at EGX earlier this year so I’ve been waiting for – just to pull an example out of thin air – nine minutes and twenty-two seconds of gameplay footage delivered via internet so I can take a proper peek. By total coincidence, this has just arrived so you can join me in my perusal!
Disclaimer: Jim Rossignol owns and runs Big Robot. Sometimes I see him for board games and I’d probably nod if we passed each other on the street. Maybe this is too frivolous a disclaimer, even for RPS. What? Co-founder of what? Rock Paper WHATgun? Never heard of it, mate.
So it’s a sci-fi open-world FPS mystery if you’re looking for some genres to lob about. The broad narrative concern has you investigating the titular signal through missions and so on, but the meat of the game seems to be coaxing and commanding friendly faction robots into helping you out as you take out enemy faction bots and seize control of locations.
This vying for control is important because controlling beacons and bunkers means you’ll be able to recruit and command these friendly bots directly instead of needing to nudge them into helping you by starting fights they then participate in. When not being commanded by you, the bots have their own missions so they go about their robotic business according to the dynamic AI. You can see their missions as well as their equipment loadouts using your magic binoculars. The magic binoculars also let you tag hostile and friendly bots.
Bunkers let you spawn patrols of new bots so that can be handy in giving you an edge in terms of bodies in a fight, but your loadout – alongside primary and secondary weapons – has area of effect upgrades so you can try to tip the odds in your favour by using those. Jim demonstrated a signal jammer which temporarily disabled the enemy bots when he used it.
I feel like trying to influence firefights and then shooting robots in the face with lasers is more my speed than stealth games. I am slightly worried that I will forget to do actual gameplay and just turn into some weird robot voyeur, though. Standing in a field, using my magic binoculars to watch them go off on their missions and compiling imaginary performance reviews.