Review: Heat Signature

Heat Signature is a 2017 game developed by a small, 5-man team called Suspicious Developments. Developed by Tom Francis, John Winder, and John Roberts, with music composed by John Halpart and Christopher James Harvey, Heat Signature is an action and stealth game played from a top-down view. The player takes control of a member of a group of mercenaries who embarks on a variety of missions. The aims of these missions vary, from rescuing prisoners to assassinating crewmembers or stealing technology. To aid them in these objectives the player has a variety of different weapons and gadgets, ranging from swords to guns, to devices that can swap your location with someone else.

This game might also have the greatest modern use of procedural generation I’ve seen in a while. Everything from the galaxy your campaign is set into the equipment and stats that your character has will be randomised. Perma-death is another system that is used in this game, and, while I haven’t had too much experience with the harder missions, the game can still be brutal when you leave your guard down.

One of the few parts of Heat Signature that is unique is the system that allows players to pause missions whenever they want, which opens a multitude of new options I’ll avoid spoiling. While it is entirely possible to complete your objectives in real-time, it is a lot more fun to break into a room, kill a guard, pause the game, and then teleport his gun to you before neutralising his companion. There is something about using this system to plan your attacks and how you’re going to complete your objectives that feels incredibly exciting in a way that I can’t quite explain.

Heat Signature is one of the most interesting and innovative games I’ve played in a while. The fact that so few people have heard of it is almost insulting considering how good it is. Trust me, buy this game when you get the chance. It’s worth it too. Go on, grab your sword. Fire up your ship’s engines. We’ve got people to kill and a universe to save.