Signpost, currently in closed beta on PC and PlayStation 5, is an MMORPG that borrows heavily from other greats of the genre. It feels like developer Airship Syndicate has carefully taken the best bits of the competition and put them together into a game that offers both enjoyable chill sessions and challenging obstacles to overcome. After accepting Polygon’s invitation to the game’s closed beta, I was lured by the promise of righteousness An run more until I realized it Signpost consumed hours of my time.
While the closed beta is still unpolished and lacking some features and resources, I still have a good idea of how the game will actually play. Signpost is packed with a comforting fantasy aesthetic infused with saturated colors and weird, interesting details. It takes place in the world of Evenor, a realm threatened by the evil forces of the Gloom. Long ago, the Gloom pushed against civilizations until a team of champions made a dramatic final stand against it… and lost. A year later, those champions have been reborn as echoes, incomplete and imperfect replicas of the fallen heroes.
I choose between one of these Echoes as my player character and pick up champions like the sword-and-plate paladin-esque Wingrave or the sneaky, stabby Niss. I can then customize my character, which starts a profession known as Wayfinder; customization is a pleasantly versatile process, with plenty of cosmetic options and a color wheel to choose from. It’s a nice balance between a player-made blank slate of a protagonist and a small, concrete cast.
Jump in Signpost feels like cycling; you’ve probably done many of these in other MMORPGs, and Airship Syndicate hasn’t reinvented the wheel. Many major systems are straight out Warframeand others will be familiar to fans World of Warcraft, Final fantasy 14or Guild Wars 2. What makes Signpost interesting is how it combines these separate parts, and where it differs from its peers.
First, it lacks the geographic scope of its peers. I can hang out in Skylight, the remaining center of civilization and peace in a world further consumed by Gloom. From there, Omen, my character’s ally, can open portals to expeditions and zones to reality holes full of traps, highwaymen, spiders, or goblins. These zones work like dungeons, but they are randomly generated for each run, leading to a different layout.
There are a few other zones that are also accessible if dangerous. Early on, I’m dispatched to the neighboring Highlands, which offer a challenge from mad thieves lurking in crumbling ruins. As I explore I unlock beacons in these new locations; I can teleport between these beacons, and their light blocks the Gloom.
Amplifying and experimenting with my Wayfinder of choice is an extensive but rewarding process. By clearing out henchmen, entering paths, and defeating bosses, I earn more resources that strengthen my main and their weapons, or progress towards unlocking other Wayfinders.
While the game has plenty of room for min-max and crafting, I find myself more intrigued playing dolly dress up with my characters and moving towards the goal of unlocking my own apartment to customize. If Signpost is to succeed, it must strike a balance between both extremes: upscaling content for those who crave a challenge, and providing cozy MMO comfort for role-playing and good vibes. This beta test shows promise on both fronts.