Electron Dance
31Mar/175

Dabbling with… The Signal From Tölva

The second episode of a short series on games I discovered at EGX Rezzed 2017.

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This one is a bit of a cheat because I've played and completed The Signal from Tölva (Big Robot Ltd) as part of the beta testing - it's due out in April. Mechanically, it's a streamlined open world game where you can lead robots into skirmishes. It doesn't overdo the collectibles.

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Tölva is very much hand-crafted which makes it interesting to explore. Some of the debris strewn across the planet is amazing, even if it doesn't do anything. It makes you ask questions like what even is all this stuff.

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I tend to think of the game as S.T.A.L.K.E.R. in space, although don't come to Tölva expecting exactly that - you'll get disappointed fast. It's just that it occasionally thrums with the same vibe, a harsh realm in which alien secrets are entombed, secrets that are beyond your ken.

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I think many will find the backstory hard to follow - I certainly had a hard time piecing together many of the little log fragments I found scattered across the surface. I spoke to Jim Rossignol of Big Robot about this yesterday and he explained that he liked ambiguity (I do too) so much of its opacity is deliberate. And he suggested that the game is easier to figure out on a second pass. But can anyone be bothered to do that?

Er... I might? I really liked my time on Tölva, so all I need is an excuse to return.

Interested in other games I've dabbled with? Check out the series index!

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Comments (5) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Got a laugh out of “what even is all this stuff”.

    It’s funny because I always thought of Sir, You Are Being Hunted as STALKER meets Wallace & Gromit. It wasn’t so much the general atmosphere and pieces of plot peppered about as it was the roving patrols and the survival and scavenging aspects. I had a great time with it though so Tolva I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on.

  2. As I’ve played the recent beta to completion, I’m hoping to get a piece of it soonish. We’ll see!

  3. Somebody get Jim the Stalker license, quick!

  4. Finn – I almost added that it would have been interesting to see how far the game could have gone with an even larger budget…

  5. I finished tolva this weekend, and I had a pretty good time. Big Robot did a good job of not trying to do more than they were capable of, and the core loop of exploration, combat, upgrade is pretty solid and satisfying. I did think the factions and story could have been deeper. It definitely looks and feels good to play.

    I’m always chasing that stalker dragon, though. I try to hit up every mod that comes out, in the hopes that someone has managed to bend that old x-ray game engine to their will.


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