The Signal From Tolva is just a little bit different than you might imagine. It’s a first-person shooter that is also an exploration game in an open-world. You take the role of a robot in a valley. You’re trying to take control of the valley from another robot faction, with both searching for the source of the titular signal.
Playing The Signal From Tolva, even for the 30 minutes I did, was a very strange experience. Essentially, my main goals were to scan specific points of the map for signals and then return to a base controlled by my faction with the findings. But the game borrows from the different genres it finds itself a part of and assembles them in some truly different ways.
First of all, the game is a first-person shooter. You explore the world and occasionally must engage in combat with robots from an enemy faction who are also searching for the signal. The engagements I experienced in the demo took place at long or medium distance and were slower paced than the gunfights you’d expect from, say, a Call of Duty or Battlefield.
The Signal From Tolva has a huge array of weapons, equipment and abilities that you can eventually unlock. You’ll have assault rifles, sniper rifles, shields and much, much more. Fighting in The Signal From Tolva seemed to be a more tactical, thoughtful affair than just running and gunning.
After I had found my way to a friendly base and met a few other robots that were on my side I charged down a hill towards a structure to look for some loot. It was being searched by enemy robots. I surveyed the area, tagged all of the enemies I could find and ambushed them from a distance. The fight lasted a few minutes as I attempted to circle and flank them. I ended up getting flanked myself.
I was hidden behind a rock taking quick shots at the enemy between their volleys of fire when I suddenly saw a robot on the periphery of my vision explode. I pressed my assault and eventually wiped out the enemy unit. As a nearby developer explained to me after it was all over, my allies had heard the sound of the fighting from our base and had come down to lend me a hand.
The way the AI works in The Signal From Tolva is a big part of what makes the game so intriguing to play. All of the robots in the game are governed by an AI system that makes their actions feel dynamic and realistic. The friendly robots coming to see what the firefight was all about, then helping their comrade out of a tight spot. It also makes them tougher to fight than your average first-person shooter enemies, as I continuously found during my demo.
The world is quite large to boot. Full of interesting things to see and structures to explore. As I ended my demo I had found a signal at the top of a building. Upon entering it quickly became apparent that it was a maze and that I had stumbled upon a puzzle. There is definitely a lot more to The Signal From Tolva than simply shooting bad robots, and the demo I played has got me eagerly anticipating finding out more.
The Signal From Tolva is scheduled to launch in Early 2017 on PC.