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Carrion Review (PC)

by on July 23, 2020
Details
 
Release Date

July 23rd, 2020

Developer

Phobia Game Studio
Publisher: Devolver Digital

 

We all know that sometimes, it’s more fun to be the villain.  Or in the case of Carrion, it is WAY more fun to play a horror game from a creature’s perspective.  Carrion puts you in the role of an amorphous creature as you work to escape your surroundings.  The creature is unnerving, the humans are no pushovers, and the overall experience is one you will immediately enjoy the minute you take control of the creature.

Let’s talk about the creature first.  The creature you control in Carrion is a stringy red mass that looks like a nightmarish creation from John Carpenter.  You float/glide seamlessly through the caverns and passages in the facility where you were held.  Your attacks are straight out of a horror movie, where you attack viciously and without mercy.  Honestly, the amount of blood that is shed when you attack a human scientist or soldier is quite gruesome.

As the creature, you navigate the facility and search for more parts of you that are hidden throughout.  If you are familiar with Metroid, then you will have an idea of how the facility is laid out.  While there are some linear moments in the game, you will end up backtracking as you gain more abilities that help you access other parts of the facility.  Some abilities allow you to bash through wood planks or extend a web that can stick humans to walls.  Eventually, you will earn powers that will help you sneak past lasers and control other humans.  All of the powers work really well in creating this horror environment.

One of the worries I had about Carrion was the difficulty level.  As awesome as it is to control a murderous creature, I personally didn’t want a walk in the park.  The developers created a really good blend of challenges that makes you strategize instead of blindly destroying.  There is a really good variety in the enemy types.  Sure, there are scientists that will go down without a fight.  But other enemy types can do significant damage to you if you don’t sneak and strategize.

One downside to the gameplay is the lack of map.  It would have been very helpful to see an overall layout of the facility so I knew where to backtrack.  However, the lack of a map does fit the narrative pretty well.  If amorphous creatures were real, they wouldn’t have access to maps.  It’s only a minor inconvenience in the end because you do have access to a radar that helps provide some direction.

The gameplay and story work really well in Carrion.  While most of your time will be spent playing as the creature, you will get the chance to play as a human.  The human parts of the story provide intriguing backstory and are a welcome break from the carnage you make as the creature.  The controls are pretty responsive, but take some time getting used to.  The movement of the creature is pretty different from your average Metroidvania.  It may take a little getting used to how fast you move and the challenge that comes with controlling the tentacles.

I need to give credit to the developers for using a really cool, pixelated art style.  The use of dark colors and the ability to knock out lights help create are truly creepy horror atmosphere.  And the soundtrack absolutely slaps.  It sounds like an homage to horror movies of old with the use of synth sounds and beats that sound like heartbeats.  Everything about the art and sound design is perfect for this type of game.

Carrion is a must-play if you are a fan of Metroidvanias or horror games.  It has an interesting story and wonderful mechanics that help set it apart from other horror games.  It feels good to be the creature and each new ability makes you want to keep exploring and snack on some scientists.  More importantly, Carrion is flat out fun.  Give it a try today!

Note: GameOctane received a digital code from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing this game. Any code or product intended for reviews is distributed to the team to review and stream for our audience.

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Positives

Fun premise
Interesting horror story
The creature is nasty and fantastic
Pixilated art design and synth music

Negatives

Lack of map

Editor Rating
 
Gameplay
B+

 
Graphics
B+

 
Story
A

 
Replay Value
A-

Total Score
A

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Bottom Line
 

Carrion is a must-play if you are a fan of Metroidvanias or horror games.  It has an interesting story and wonderful mechanics that help set it apart from other horror games.  It feels good to be the creature and each new ability makes you want to keep exploring and snack on some scientists.  More importantly, Carrion is flat out fun.  Give it a try today!  

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