Developed By: Phobia Game Studio
Published By: Devolver Digital (Digital), Special Reserve Games (Physical)
Categories: Horror, Metroidvania, Indie
Release Date: 07.23.20

While not a new idea by any means, there’s always a novelty factor to playing as a villain or monster. While not a bad thing, most games as a hero fall into the same kind of feel. Jump, shoot, slash. Playing as a monster on the otherhand opens up so many possibilities. Carrion is one of these games, aptly titled Reverse Horror.

To properly describe how Carrion plays is to describe the monster in the game. Nasty, bloody, inhuman, full of tentacles. Escape from your prison and find your way throughout this facility, eating defenseless and some not so defenseless humans to sustain. Their blood fills rooms, their screams echo while you tear them down. Don’t let anyone run away. With the satisfying feel of of the feral act, eat. Grow. Eat. Destroy. Escape.

KEEP CALM, AND CARRY ON

The premise of Carrion is unique, but a format in which it’s presented has a very indie feel to it. The world is interconnected, segmented by themes and hazard types, much like a “Metroidvania”. Spritework is great and there’s independent lighting, be it from lamps, computers, lasers, the sunlight. It’s a rather pretty game, but still has an “indie feel”. In spite of this, the game doesn’t feel like generic indie fare. Movement isn’t standard, you’re not walking and jumping around to explore, but clinging and crawling on walls and ceilings. This is all performed with the left stick, with the right stick, you control your tentacles. Using this with a combination with one of the four shoulder buttons to grab your prey or use abilities you earn throughout your beastly carnage.

Say by chance you can’t reach a switch through what may be blocking you, throw a web and pull it through. Ram through barriers you wouldn’t be able to normally pull away. Even go stealthy and slide right through a motion sensor as long as you have enough energy to do so. These are just a few and all of these have use when you’re surrounded by other living things and either need to eat or defend yourself. While the game starts off with people just doing their jobs, effectively harmless, it ramps up rather quickly, with guns, shock shields that require you grab from behind, to security wielding flamethrowers that will quickly take you out. With your abilities though, you can turn the tides. Maybe use your webs to incapacitate someone for an easy kill. Or just ram right though a group of people to make for a quick an easy meal. The game allows for a stealth approach as to not incite a fight, so turning invisible can make those tough encounters relatively easy. I never once felt like I was in an unfair situation.

Perhaps it’s my lack of skill in the genre (or brains), but I found myself getting lost a handful of times. The game never outright railroads you, even if it hints where the right path is. Each area has a theme, but none of the rooms feel that samey, so I’d have to chock my issues up to not having the best spacial awareness. Also of note with the environments is how destructible things in the way get. Destroy these computers, knock crates and doors around. Pull these cars on the track around and toss them at people. Destroyed objects, and even people seem to stick around too, with the blood, truly showing the chaos you’ve brought.

Much like the graphics, the sounds are gross and meaty. As opposed to having melodies play, atmospheric tunes will play in moments of interest or action to raise the mood and heighten the tension. The game’s job is to constantly make you feel uneasy. This mixed with the visceral gameplay makes you feel like the monster you control. With no reservations you’ll destroy anything in site, even seemingly innocent bystanders. Giving no thought, just consuming.

4.5/5

Buy Now: $19.99 Digital $39.99 Physical

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*Game Download Code supplied for review purposes