Hello, and welcome to Games You Should Be Playing. This series aims to highlight those games, from indie to AAA, that should be at the top of every gamer’s list. Although titles will inevitably slip through the cracks, there are some out there that you just can’t ignore. This week, we’ll be highlighting a title known as Heat Signature. If you missed last week’s article on Golf Story, you can check it out here.
Essentially, Heat Signature is a beautiful marriage of Hotline Miami, Super Hot, and outer space. Well, that’s not all it is, but it seems to be a pretty good way to outline the concept. Developed and published by Suspicious Developments (the amazing folks that worked on Gunpoint). So let’s take a look at what makes this one so great, and just why you should be playing it.
Games You Should Be Playing: Heat Signature
In Heat Signature, you play as a small spaceship, or rather, the pilot of that ship. As you progress through the game, you’ll be breaking into bigger spaceships. Not only that, but once you’re in, you’ll have to take everyone out. That’s right, there’s no super-sneaky moves you can pull off here to get a pacifist playthrough. You’re going to have to get in there, and really get your hands dirty to get through this one. You can, however, try your best to fix each and every mistake you make. More on that later.
With this game being stealth-based, you’re going to have a ton of time to think about actions. More on that later. Heat Signature is about carefully planning for each move, while still thinking on your feet. Of course, like Hotline Miami, it can get controller-clenchingly hard at times. But like all great games, you know that it’s you that messed up. The game did you no wrong, and there is always something that you as the player can fix. And when you finally pull off that perfect run and get every single kill in succession, it feels awesome. You feel like an astronaut James Bond, and it’s absolutely enthralling.
If You Liked ____, You’ll Love This
Again, it’s pretty clear that Heat Signature takes a few cues from Hotline Miami. And yet, it never feels too same-y. Rather, this game is really refreshing, and almost mesmerizing at points. The gameplay is at its best when you get into “the zone” with it. You’ll find that your muscle memory is making moves to kill a crew member before you can even think about it. And moments like that, as I said, are almost magical. Especially when you’ve been working on a hard puzzle, and it finally clicks. That “aha” moment is the best part of this game. If you enjoyed Hotline Miami or Super Hot, or both, you’ll love this title.
“More On That Later”
Everything in this game revolves around a super, super cool control premise. Like in Super Hot, time really only moves when you want it to. Whenever you please, you can pause the game, or at least everything around you, and think about how to mend that mistake. You don’t have to hide out, or anything like that. You just stop time. And this is where the game really starts to show its true colors.
Remember that scene in X-Men: Days of Future Past? The one set to Time In A Bottle by Jim Croce, where we finally get to see things from Quicksilver’s point of view? As he runs around, time slows down to compensate how we see him. Yeah, this game is kinda a bit like that. You never really pause when you go into these action sequences; the game just slows to a nearly unnoticeable crawl.
From there, you can choose to attack the situation however you see fit. Whether by an array of gadgets, or just shooting everyone in the head a bunch of times, you can do it however you like. Of course, if you just shoot everyone yourself, the entire ship will hear it. Playing stealthy is absolutely the safer (and usually more rewarding) option. It’s so satisfying to watch a symphony of gadgets go off, and then boom, everyone on the ship is dead and gone. You make your escape, and it’s like nothing happened. This game is puzzle-based stealth at its best, and is incredibly gratifying to play when you do it in the right way.