Heat Signature Video Game Review

Heat Signature is one of the best single player games to come out this year.

It sure doesn’t seem like a lot of good games have arrived in the year 2018, since it seems all anyone can play this year is this new Call of Duty Black Ops 4 and of course, Fortnite: Battle Royale. I am about to tell you about a fun single player game that was released this year and is worth its price for a computer game. Heat Signature is a top-down stealth game available on Steam for only $15 and is one of the best independent games to come out this year.

Heat Signature is an open world-ish game where you receive randomly generated missions to find certain spaceships, board them, and finish whatever goal you are assigned. Unlike many other games, you aren’t taken to mission areas as soon as you accept them. Instead, you are given the location of the ship and you have to fly your pod there. If you don’t feel like doing specific missions you can just wander around, but the game randomly places ships of any difficulty in any area, to make it seem more realistic.

The structure of the game is focused on doing enough missions to conquer certain areas, eventually leading to the 4 strongholds, which you can conquer in any order, similar to Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Each time you conquer an area, the game unlocks new items for future characters to start with. Everything is randomly generated, so the game technically has an infinite number of missions. Each mission is generated by the game, not the developer, even the major missions to conquer the strongholds. You might think the computer would generate bad levels or thousands of dead ends, but the missions follow a pretty fair and 100% beatable formula.

The game has a big focus on either stealth or combat, but it rewards stealth more. It has an interesting alarm system, where when you get seen by a guard, the game plays an event, normally a time limit, but they have different variations to make the game harder. The combat is similar to that in the game Super Hot, but in Heat Signature, time slows when enemies see you, so you get time to dodge projectiles and it also enhances the game feel. All bullets or melee attacks are a one-hit kill on enemies, and on you, which might seem like the game is just very hard, also considering you have to play as a new character each time you die, but you are normally given a small second chance before you actually die if you get hit. Projectiles are easy to dodge and only one enemy has a truly hit scan weapon to balance the difficulty.

The difficulty of the mission depends on your skill as a player and the mission you chose. The game rarely makes a mission hard because you lack a certain item. Most of the time, if you fail, its due to a lack of skill, not specific items. I think this is important, and part of why games like Dark Souls became famous. In most role-playing games, an attack by an enemy is unavoidable, you just need enough hit points to survive it. In Heat Signature, all attacks instantly knock you out (or kill you if your character has certain traits), so its more about skill, not an infinite grind loop. Certain missions don’t have this kind of “git gud” design and are rather easy, in case you get stuck. This is how the developer makes sure the game is not too easy or hard.

I like the way the game makes use of the different items or “gadgets” you can use. They don’t carry you through the whole mission so you still have to use some skill and run out of uses fast, so you have to use some skill. I think it makes the game less boring. The ideas for gadgets are like quirky mechanics you might find in games like Breath of the Wild. They range from the ability to make everything slow motion except you, swap spots with an enemy, place a teleporter trap, hack electronics, and others along that same line. They make the combat less about just shooting everything and not dying and makes the stealth sections more fun.

My personal favorite part is all the bonus quests or “side quests” you can unlock, most of which are super difficult, but always fair and rewarding to finish. Every time you conquer a certain area, it will unlock a new randomly generated mission that can only be played with a pre-made character. They can be played as many times as you want and offer some extra loot for every future character. There is a daily set of missions that can be played with a specific character, which are mainly focused on getting a higher score than the other players on the leaderboard. Half the time the leaderboards don’t work so you can’t see if your record is “good” or not.

Overall, I like Heat Signature because it’s a fun single player game to play if your WIFI isn’t working or you just want another hard game like Spelunky or Enter the Gungeon. It’s definitely worth the $15.