Ultra-Indie Spotlight Sunday: Pigsaw
There’s a reason cameras are legally forbidden from factory farms. The carnage and violence of such an industry go beyond what any of us could imagine. So it is that Pigsaw places you in the position of the factory farmed, in a superstructure human farm, staffed by gigantic pig-headed butchers. You play as a livestock human, nude and placed in a cage until it’s time for the slaughter. After a brief altercation, you manage to escape into the depths of the factory, naked and alone, and must find your way to escape.
It’s difficult to thread the needle between a horror game with shooting and a horror-themed FPS. Sometimes I enter a game expecting survival horror and quickly find that there’s such an abundance of ammunition that conserving it for when I need is not something that even needs to be considered. Not that that’s a bad thing; I love Resident Evil 4, where I can go nuts on a peaceful village with an arsenal of weapons and roundhouse kicks. But without the desperation, is that really scary?
Pigsaw executes this perfectly. With a nigh useless pipe for melee and a double barrel shotgun that you’d be lucky to have more than two rounds in your pocket at any given time, this game forces you to take any other option before pulling the trigger. The action is suspenseful, and finding yourself with two shells and three pig butchers in hot pursuit certainly makes for good horror.
Non-Wanky Game Recap:
Pigsaw is primarily a stealth game with some combat elements. One of those elements is a shotgun that uses shells the size of a Pringles can. Sneak around the factory, keep out of sight from the pigs, and should all else fail, hopefully, you have a shell handy, lest you be forced to run away while desperately throwing barrels at the oncoming pigs.
The premise of Pigsaw is fantastic, with three distinct story arcs, which is a remarkable achievement for such a short game without any dialogue. In fact, the only real narrative element of the game is one instance of seeing a quasi-religious piece of art created by one of the other escapees, which further deepens the meaning behind what’s going on into something greater than just a guy running away, almost like this game’s version of the Dark Souls chosen undead. I loved all of the game, the atmosphere, the gameplay, everything. But the untold story laid out was really something incredible.
The game is only 45ish minutes long, and while it is incredibly fun, I did feel like the game reached it’s climactic ending a little too early, right as the game was reaching its stride. Other than that, I fail to see anything that this game is lacking.
How To Fix It:
I’d certainly love to see more of this game’s universe. While brevity is the soul of a compelling itch.io horror game, the gameplay was so exciting and terrifying that I definitely think Pigsaw could use some more content, if not a whole sequel altogether. Especially with the show-don’t-tell style of storytelling, I think this premise could be an incredible start to a much larger project.
This game felt like I was in the evil version of Portal’s Aperture Science. The aesthetic of the factory made me feel like a rat scurrying around, with its superstructure architecture and massive scale. There are so many interesting concepts explored in Pigsaw, I felt a deep yearning to play some more. You would be remiss to not try this game out for yourself.