The first thing you'll ask yourself when you start playing A Machine for Pigs is, "Why am I in a cage?"
When your character wakes from the brief but horrible images that open the game that's where you are: lying on a bed confined by bars. The creepiness increases exponentially when you find another caged bed in the next room. A voiceover suggests that a woman has died while giving birth to ... twins?
There are dreadful pig masks scattered around, intricately-painted Carnivale-type things. If you stare at them too long you begin to notice the drone that fills the empty mansion.
The amnesia of the game's title refers to you waking up and not knowing who you are or what your story is. Discovering those terrible truths is the objective of this first-person experience, an encounter in terror.
Soon after you start exploring – the attic at first – you'll find a lantern that you can use to illuminate dark spaces. But that light can also attract things that you'd rather not confront. When you're playing A Machine for Pigs, that darkness can sometimes be a comfort when it keeps you from being seen.
The story of what happened in the mansion is revealed slowly. There are secrets in the house, all of them terrible.
The sanity mechanic of the first Amnesia game, 2010's The Dark Descent, is gone, and there is no inventory for you to manage, but A Machine for Pigs still succeeds in inducing shivering dread. Enjoy!
Developer: Frictional Games; Platforms: Linux, OS X, Windows