The barbaric game that took the Switch community by storm returns next week to the PlayStation console - Carrion, we delve into the homicidal horror Metroidvania side-scroller below!
The Carrion hype is returning ahead of the side-scroller game’s release to PlayStation come October 29th. For those who haven’t had a chance to play Carrion and are interested in understanding exactly what the game comprises of, simply look at the game’s title: Carrion – a word that refers to the decaying flesh of dead animals, Humans included. Devolver Digital’s collaboration with Phobia Games has produced an innovative and sprightly take on the Metroidvania genre wherein you brutally execute anyone implicit in keeping you ensnared. Fun and games, eh!
What is reverse horror?
Carrion uses a rather unique concept to describe its essence: reverse horror. Players no longer fight the alien; they are the alien - we control a mini Ctulhu and engage in some seriously misanthropic missions designed to eradicate Humans. Relith Science, a machinating research corporation, has kept you in chains for study and scrutiny – not much fun – so you escape and keep only one thing on your tentacled mind: revenge.
What does gameplay involve?
Players can enhance their amorphous alien creature as they progress through the game, consuming humans, gaining abilities, and depositing biomass when needed, such as when a puzzle requires certain aptitudes. The Ragdoll combat mechanics in Carrion are indefatigable in how satisfying they are, slamming scientists against walls with our appendages and hearing their pathetic wails for help just doesn’t reach ad nauseam. Am I too far into this character? I have to say I felt kind of bad for the scientists after a while, feeling ashamed as I tore the door off its frame and hurled it towards one of my foes. It’s a load of fun being the villain I must admit. Players are able to collect strands of DNA that empower their monster with various abilities; cloaking, dashing, roaring and my personal favourite, the chance to infect humans and possess them only to then attack other humans and perform functions that require two hands. Oh, the joys of amorphism. We can control only one primary tentacle, but one devastating arm is enough; in an answer aimed at achieving fairness, our size can sometimes get in the way of fluid transport, yet I suppose we are a shape-shifting monster? What more do we want?
Can I use a strategy in game?
As chaotic as combat can be, a plan of action is required prior to each level and should take into account your size, power, the layout of the level and what calibre of enemy stand in your way. In amidst the chaos there can be some semblance of a battle plan, and this is where Carrion gets the weight of combat just right; the game gives you enough raw power and strength to cause anarchy but poses enough of a challenge to keep each level engaging and novel. Not that three hours of gameplay is a long time, but three hours of effortless victory sounds like quite a tedious endeavour.
Does gameplay evolve as we go?
Backtracking and uncovering hidden areas in levels is a fundamental part of successful Metroidvania games – Carrion pulls this off without breaking so much as a sweat. Some players voiced their want to have Carrion a stretch longer, but in truth 3 hours feels just about right to avoid any banality. Carrion doesn’t profess to harbour a cogent narrative, rather the game gives context to the current state of blood-stained affairs. As the game runs its course, players experience flashbacks so that, by the time the game reaches its culmination, we know exactly how, when, and why we were captured in the first place. With knowledge comes power, not often for us though; enemy types become progressively harsher and better skilled as we move closer to the outside world, and understandably so – if our monster escaped the facility and multiplied in the outside world, well, that would be quite the sticky situation.
By all accounts is Carrion a solid Indie title: addictive physics allow players to engrave their own mark on the manner of savagery we use to kill our foes, while gameplay as a whole transfigures over the course of a run-through, starting off as basic and slowly but surely diversifying. Carrion is perfectly designed to ensconce itself as a classic in the Metroidvania genre but gives its own spin on the traditional horror formula, giving an gripping end-product able to be completed in one sitting as you chuckle in power, stalking and barbarically murdering the facility staff. Anyway, that’s enough blood and gore for today!
Images sourced from Steam.