Carrion Review: A brutally fun reverse horror game

Carrion

If you’ve ever wanted to play as the monster from a horror film, Carrion just might be the game for you.

Phobia Game Studio’s Carrion is a “reverse-horror” game where you play as an ungodly monster terrorizing unsuspecting scientists and guards. Think of it as a 2D Resident Evil if you could play as Nemesis – and if Nemesis was a tentacled monstrosity.

The gameplay is fairly simple. You control the tentacled monster, which slithers around, stretches, and contorts throughout the secret research facility. You can grab objects – doors, levers, and vent covers – as well as people, flinging them around or using them as projectiles.

The graphics have this cool mid-1990s vibe going on. Carrion is a 2D game that has the look of something that might have run on Windows 3.1. Design-wise, the levels are similar to what you would expect from a Metroidvania.

Spread that biomass

There are checkpoints where you can “spread biomass” and save your progress. Basically, you infect part of the environment and you’ll respawn from the most recent point in the event that you die. These biomass checkpoints also occasionally open up new pathways.

You gain new abilities as the game progresses, and your abilities vary depending on the size of your monster. When you’re in your smallest form, you have the ability to smack things at a distance. You’ll also gain the ability to gain temporary invisibility. In your larger form.

Speaking of different forms, the mass of your monster grows as you kill and eat people in the game. The more people you eat, the larger you get (although it does cap off). Consequently, if you take damage from bullets or fire, your mass shrinks.

Mixing things up

Carrion is a mix of several different genres. The game relies on some basic puzzles to get around the labyrinthine research facility. You pull levers to open doors and disable lasers. You squeeze into tight spaces to avoid detection and reach new areas.

There are also points in the game where you experience flashbacks and play briefly as a human. Speaking of humans, later in the game, you gain the ability to control humans with a mind-control-like ability. Needless to say, the game has plenty of variety to keep things fresh and entertaining.

Conclusion

Carrion is one of the best indie games released in 2020 so far. The premise – playing as a monster trying to escape a lab instead of as a human trying to contain an outbreak – is unique. I highly recommend checking it out.


Recommendation | Carrion is free with Xbox Game Pass. Still, I'd happily pay the full $20 asking price.


Final Score | 4 out of 5


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  • Reviewed On:

    Xbox One
  • Also On:

    PC, PS4, Switch
  • Publisher:

    Devolver Digital
  • Developer:

    Phobia Game Studio
  • Genre:

    2D action-adventure, reverse horror game
  • ESRB Rating:

    M
  • Release Date:

    July 23, 2020
  • MSRP:

    $19.99


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