The Signal From Tolva launches limited test release

If you fancy a crack at The Signal From Tölva [official site], the new open-world FPS from Sir, You Are Being Hunted devs Big Robot (and therefore RPS co-founder Jimmy Ro-ro), and have quick fingers, you can snap up one of the limited keys offered cheap for a pre-release test. Tölva is a sci-fi sandbox FPS about exploring the mysteries of an alien planet through the hacked eyes of the robots who’ve formed into factions there. It’s built for emergent, surprising consequences as robots roam around on their own missions, perhaps helping you or maybe shooting your roboface off. It’s got some nice dramatic landscape set pieces too, with great zappy spacegun noises and all.

Off you’ll go, investigating the eponymous signal from Tölva by hijacking the bodies of robots, arming them with different weapons and equipment and hacking other bots to be your pal. Our John quite enjoyed the short demo he played in September 2016 but you might find this gameplay from November more illuminating:

Big Robot have put 500 game keys up on Itch for the “pre-release test” at $15 apiece, knocking $5 off the price of the full game (which buyers will also receive when it’s done). As I write, 274 are left.

The Signal From Tölva is due to launch in full in April so this shouldn’t be too wonky, but it is still a testing release.

[Disclosure: As mentioned, RPS co-founder Jim Rossignol also co-founded Big Robot. Our time at RPS only briefly overlapped and I’m not sure I’ve ever met him while I wasn’t either jetlagged or drunk. I couldn’t tell you much about him. I remember distinctive eyes?]


  1. ran93r says:

    Enjoying it very much so far, not played a huge amount because some whack job decided that Sunday night was totally the best time to throw this out to the rabid masses but I will be heading back in after work.

    It’s a beautiful looking game.

  2. TΛPETRVE says:

    S.Y.A.B.H. was a bit too rough around the edges for my taste, but this looks pretty damn promising.

    • MajorLag says:

      That’s being polite if you ask me. But I do like RPS, so as long as Signal is kinda like RPS then I’ll probably like it.

  3. Kreeth says:

    Having spent an hour or so dicking around trying to break stuff last night, I haven’t really got into the meat of it, so can’t comment on the actual gameplay that much. Positives so far, it looks fantastic (art style) and the premise is intriguing – I want to know a lot more about the universe: is it completely populated by bots? Am I an AI or a human piloting these things remotely (is the robot in the opening cutscene me or the information broker I was talking to)? This may well have been covered somewhere but if so, I missed it.

    I’m not really quite sure what I’m meant to be doing though. I have, for instance, not a clue how you’re meant to tell your other robots how to do something. Have I missed something or do I not have that ability yet (I only just unlocked the first bunker)? I don’t know. It may be I was concentrating so much on doing random stuff to see if anything was geborkenen that I missed the game telling me important things.

    Anyway, very much looking forward to playing some more later.

    • Plastic Legs says:

      You can start recruiting a squad of robots after you have unlocked the first SQ-UID Phreaker tool. Only two buddies at first but it goes up to four eventually. It’s worth noting that the tool will take up a weapon slot.

  4. frightlever says:

    Technically in the UK it’s $15+VAT, which works out at a bit over £15, according to my Paypal receipt.

  5. Ephant says:

    Do we get a Steam key on release?

  6. Jekhar says:

    Is this a procedural, play-it-over-and-over kind of game or does it fall on the handcrafted and story driven side? Asking because i don’t want to potentially spoil myself before it’s really finished.

  7. Tartrazine says:

    Still 150 odd left as of this post.

    Bagged this as I liked the look of it as per the promo vid they released a while ago, and also because (like others I suspect) I have warm memories of Jim R from my PCG days and want to support him.

    That said I didn’t enjoy SYABH much. If I was a games critic stroke wordsmith I could probably vocalise why in appealing humorous language, but I’m not so I didn’t enjoy it much is all your getting.

  8. hollowroom says:

    Would love to play it, but due to some VAT EU malarky, I can’t buy it. I can wait I think.

  9. Faults says:

    Grabbed a copy this morning whilst at work. Still a few hours until I can get home and try this thing out. Super excited! The art style and gameplay are 200% my thing.

  10. Al Bobo says:

    So you order bots to attack other bots with you? Sounds amazingly boring. Where’s the story? Where’s the drama? Is there any reason for me to care about friendly bots? Will I cry, if my brainwashed bot-comrade Bzzrtblx dies? Can I take prisoners of war? Do they have their own communities? What is different between factions, except that some kill on sight?
    This sounds like a poor version of Necropolis, which flopped badly.

    • Merry says:

      You seem very determined to dislike this game without having played it or waited for a Wot I Think

    • Cleave says:

      You can but the tool to command them takes up one of two weapon slots. In hidden lore cubes from what I can tell. Not sure. Not really, they replenish infinitely at the nearby bunker and you fast travel and respawn by taking over another bot so pretty expendable. Probably not. No. They have bunkers, haven’t seen any women or children. Some are red, some are blue.

  11. Merry says:

    I’ve played about forty minutes of this and I’m really excited to play on! It struck me immediately as a sort of one-planet No Man’s Sky with bits of Far Cry influence (although I am sure NMS was released too late to have been an influence) and I’ve seen nothing so far to indicate that it’s a beta release. There are some really nice ideas here.

    • Collieuk says:

      It has the NMS art style for sure. The setting is ace but after 3-4 hours I’ve explored over half the map and had a few fire fights but not died once. There’s some story to be found in the data cubes you locate but no real reason to read them. Feels like it needs an injection of scale and scope. Right now it’s a nice game but very small & repetitive. SYABH felt similar in its limited scope but the procedural maps made repeat plays more likely.

      Another 5-6 months to inject some variety and make the map more dynamic and it will be a good 7/10 game.

  12. Velko says:

    A back and a front vowel in the same word??? *screams in Finnish*

  13. Tycow says:

    Boooo! Missed out on a copy… CURSE YOU, WORK!

    Any chance of a few more keys to buy? :D

  14. hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

    I seem to be in the minority of people who very much enjoyed Sir, YABH; but I went into it knowing that there was essentially no story of which to speak, it’s a game about the gameplay. That said, I think it would have been a much stronger game with a bit of a narrative to it, TSFT sounds like that’s what they’re going for. Here’s to hoping Big Robot can pull it off.

    • Collieuk says:

      The narrative seems to disappear almost immediately. You’d expect constant messages etc leading you through the first dozen or so locations but no. Pretty much left to your own devices five mins in.
      I liked Sir too although it felt a little empty or unpolished at times. Big Robot have some great ideas but they are a small team and it shows. Hopefully they will keep making games until they get a hit on their hands.

    • Neutrino says:

      Sir was awesome. It’s all about the atmosphere, the stealth, limited inventory management, and some surprising interactions.

      They nailed the mood perfectly and I think the tight focus on the few other elements resulted in a game that is excellent all round.

      One of the very few games that I’ve actually played to completion in years.