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A Quick Look At Summoning Signals (Demo)

Summoning Signals is but one of a handful of new games heading to the Dreamcast in the near future, and it also happens to have a demo version freely available to download, burn to a CD and play on actual Dreamcast hardware.

Naturally, we thought it only proper to grab the demo and give it a whirl, and to give our impressions of this early build here at the Junkyard. Just to clarify, this new demo is not the same as the old demo - the old demo being a sort of mini game that featured a two-headed serpent with a penchant for Soul Calibur quips. No, this new demo is a demo of the actual Summoning Signals game, in all its point and click, photogrammetry-enabled glory.

So what is Summoning Signals then? Well, in time honoured fashion, it appears that indie developer 12db.soft have crafted a slightly esoteric sci-fi point and click adventure game, which relies pretty heavily on the sort of eerie, technology focused strangeness you're likely to find in a Mark Z. Danielewski novel. Lots of abstract music and sound effects, very little hand holding, and a leaning on the player to work it out for themselves...imagine that in this day and age!

The game starts with a fairly bizarre cutscene that depicts you crashing your ship on some alien world. There's lots of arcane symbolism and almost Lynchian aesthetic cues as the ship loses power and descends; and you are left to work out how to use your damaged radio to make contact with a benevolent stranger and follow their instructions to get out of your predicament. That predicament being, y'know, that you're stranded on an alien world.

Due to the nature of Summoning Signals' reliance on the abstract, it's probably an intentional design choice that it's all a bit baffling to begin with. You move a crosshair around the screen and focus on items in the world, selecting them as you go - the VMU will beep and display icons when you happen to hover over a point of interest (which is a nice touch). 

You can also pull up an inventory of sorts and activate a radio through which you communicate with the stranger (who goes by the name Copper) and you can move between screens by hovering over arrows that appear at the screen edge and selecting them. Check out the short video I put together of the first few minutes of the demo below.

Overall, from what I've played of this demo I'm even more intrigued by how weird 12db.soft can make this game. Apart from the unique visual style which mixes interesting photogrammetry with a rudimentary day/night cycle, the oddness of Summoning Signals really appeals to me.

There's no set release date for the final game yet, but you can grab this demo from the Summoning Signals website and play it either on a PC or on Dreamcast hardware. I did have a few instances where the demo froze, but that's forgivable in this early state.

Let us know if you've played the demo in the comments or on Twitter.

2 comments:

FlorreW said...

Love the mystic / dark theme. This gme is interesting

JJ said...

This was very fun, particularly love the art style in it. Can't wait for the final thing!