Carrion is an upcoming 2D action adventure horror side scroller game in which you play as a fleshy red monster terrorizing the humans. As a result of the Uno swop, you rampage a facility and devour humans, growing in size and abilities. If you enjoy causing pixels of gore and flesh to fly around, this game should be on your wishlist.
You are a fleshy, tentacled abomination with teeth and you want to escape this strange research facility you were born into. On the way you eat humans to increase your biomass and upgrade your offensive abilities. It seems that you are an offshoot of some bigger flesh monster that has been growing underground beneath.
So far the story is simply told through the environment. There’s no cutscene explaining your backstory (yet). You are just born from flesh and live as flesh.
You move around using the LMB and eat or grab things using the RMB (on the controller you use your Left Joystick to move and Right Joystick to move your eating/grabbing tentacle). Using a controller can be to your advantage because you can move in a different direction from your attacking direction.
You can also fire a fleshy web (like a damn Ogre spider) to trap enemies (MMB or Right Bumper). Later on, when you find a “missing heart” (upgrade), this ability is replaced with a giant claw attack to help you break through wood to previously inaccessible areas. This attack can be a bit clunky at first and takes a lot of getting used. On the controller you need to hold the right stick in the direction of the attack and hold the Right Bumper down to charge the attack. On the mouse you need to hold the MMB. This can be clunky when holding the LMB to move and you want to attack as well.
The controls are actually quite immersive, especially when using a controller. I really felt like I was controlling a bloody tentacle mass with teeth, eyes and claws. Using my left stick to move and right stick to throw people around is really cathartic.
The levels consist of tunnels, lab rooms, metal grating and some jungle bits with water. When in water, you separate into individual tentacles and can slip through drains. Some areas have slightly hidden passages and missing them means you take the hard way out. You can yank off certain grates and fling them around. You can also grab humans and fling them around. Pretty much anything you can grab can and should be flung! Except switches. They help you open doors.
The level design helps set the scale for the monster. You start off small and nimble. You can sneak around certain places and move fast. However, once you grow to a large proportion you aren’t as agile and fast. Tunnels are a squeeze instead of a breeze. It really adds to the immersion. It also can add or minimize the difficulty limiting your options and forcing you to be smart with your attacks.
The enemies so far range from harmless humans, armed humans, heavily armed humans (with flamethrowers and zappy shields), drones and turrets. The AI is very clever at times, noticing the slightest blip of a tentacle. Flamethrowers are deadly if you can’t find a pool of water. I actually died multiple times in the demo. The difficulty is well-balanced but saving scumming can help if you are really struggling.
The audio design is super spooky. The adaptive music is subtle and foreboding. It ramps up when you come into contact with enemies. Reminds me of “The Thing”. However, I hope there will be different tracks later on for each level.
The sound effects are great. It’s satisfying to hear the slap, thwip and splot of your tentacles as you move along. You can even bump into glass, metal cases and chains in the background. It creates a very rich experience. The human screams of terror could be improved or varied some more. I shouldn’t hear someone scream after I’ve flung them into a wall. Gasping for air or choking on the thick bloody slime would be nice additions.
The pixel art and animation is fantastic! The physics and animations are well synced. The way chains, wires and lamps dangle and move with weight is great. The sprays of viscera and gore as you massacre the place or just “walk” is pleasing to the eye (maybe not the stomach). Cleanly executed destructible objects is another plus. The HUD is also clean and neat, displaying unobtrusive instructions and stats.
But by far the most impressive thing in Carrion (and possibly in gaming for some time) was seeing your individual tentacles move. It’s magical!
While the story is simple, Carrion’s gameplay is downright fun. I now know why my dog shakes around a rope. Smacking enemies into walls and objects is a dark, yet unknown pleasure that I am glad to have found. I hope they expand into different environments, with bosses perhaps, while telling the story through them. Variation is a must though if they want to make a fully fledged game stay entertaining. I say keep an eye (or eyes) on this one!