Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs

Is this survival horror adventure game worthy of the title Amnesia?

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Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs presents an odd mix of game genres.  It has the appearance of a third person shooter, except you don’t run around shooting at things.  It is sort of like a maze game because each area of the game is like a maze, and the point is to find the entrance to the next maze.  Finally, it is like an adventure game because there is a lot of exploration and the occasional puzzle to solve.  The latter is the reason is why I’m reviewing it here.
 

The Setup

The game starts with our hero waking up in a bedroom.  There is no explanation of where he is or who he is.  He has no memory, but the game doesn’t really address that. He hears the calls of some children and starts to follow the voices.  The game consists, primarily, of trying to find those children.

The game felt like a lot of little mazes, each getting slightly bigger as the game progressed.  Unfortunately they never got the point of being so complex you’d need to map something out.  The hero will go through the strange mansion, into a church, through the town, into a factory, and finally down into the underground dungeon.  Along the trek, the hero will find notes and recordings that tell the games story.  Occasionally he’ll come across a phone which will give him hints of what to do next, urging him to help save the children. 

The game does have some puzzles, but they felt incidental to the game.  If you click in the right spot a hidden door opens.  Pick up the fuse from the shelf and carry it with you to the nearby broken fuse box.  Push the levers in a certain order to make something happen.  It was all pretty simple. 

Every once in a while you’ll find a creature in the dark who tries to attack you.  You can’t fight back, so you’re only choice is to run.  The game never explicitly explains this but you’ll figure it out pretty quickly.  Unfortunately running around in a dark maze while a creature kills you every couple of minutes was more frustrating than challenging.

 

The Technical Details

A Machine for Pigs was clearly built for console play, and playing it on a PC is a one of the worst experiences I’ve had with a game.  For something with so little enticing content, there sure were a lot of controls; many I rarely used. 

Amnesia is supposed to be a scary horror game; and they were successful in making me jump more than once.  The sound was very well done.  You’ll have squeaks and bumps both small and large surround you as you travel through.  The light whispers of the children beckoning you to go deeper into the house.  Ghostly visions will haunt your screen; and if you shine a flashlight into the eyes of the pig creatures that play the antagonists; then you’re in for a shock.  The sound and environment reminded me a lot of Scratches, another horror game in an abandoned mansion.  Unfortunately the scares were too few and far between.  There was too much down time playing the game and I felt like it would never end. 

 

Conclusion

This is the first game I have ever played that made me wish for an IMDB like site for video games.  After finishing, I wish I could go read a discussion board on this game in order to get an explanation of what just happened.  The various recordings and notes you find are supposed to fill that in; but I was left with a lot of blanks.  If you like horror games, you may consider giving this a try.  If you really loved this games precursor, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, then you should consider giving it a try.  But, if you’re not a fan of horror or this series, there are other titles more worthy of your time. 

Grade: D

1 comments
thatdudeguy
thatdudeguy

I agree with your review, but would argue a couple of points.

First, this game is not very linked mechanically to its predecessor. You're never in significant danger from enemies and the puzzles are very simple. For a player like me, that was great! I enjoyed the horror aspects of the previous Amnesia game, but disliked the game mechanics (simply because I'm a wuss, not because anything was inherently wrong with them.)

Second, the creators of this game were Thechineseroom, whom specialize in interactive storytelling over challenging gameplay. Their previous game, Dear Esther, featured even less gameplay challenge than AMFP, but was an amazing experience nonetheless. This wasn't well communicated in AMFP's marketing efforts, but heavily influenced my expectations of the game.

In short, I highly recommend the game but acknowledge that it doesn't provide any dynamic gameplay similar to its predecessor nor the challenging puzzles expected by the average JustAdventure reader. But if you're looking for a fun carnival ride through a 19th century industrialist's Small World, it's a blast!

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