Developer > Phobia Game Studio
Publisher > Devolver Digital
Released July 23
If I were one of these pixel people, I’d be screaming too.
Thankfully in Carrion you play as the monster; a crimson eldritch horror that’s all teeth and tentacles.
It’s a refreshing change of pace from the usual, and developer Phobia Game Studio describes it as “reverse-horror.” Fairly apt I’d say.
Like a proper horror story, the game starts out with you breaking containment and escaping into the ducts. From there, you’re tearing your way through the facility, leaving a tide of death in your wake. There are brief unspoken story moments that show how you managed to get into the facility, but Carrion is mainly focused on letting you be the monster.
At the start you feel like an unstoppable force when you face off against the scientists and other basic faculty. A bit further in, the soldiers show up. They are armed and armored, and require some occasional planning to take out as you are no longer so unstoppable around them. It makes the later encounters occasionally feel like light puzzles as you figure out the best way to attack without being mowed down by machine guns or flamethrowers.
The level design is solid; I never found myself utterly lost, nor feeling like I was being openly railroaded. The layout of the map is faintly reminiscent of a metroidvania style game, with pathways locked to skills you’ll find as you explore. The areas you visit are visually distinct enough, and with the combat and light puzzles its all a great experience. There’s just one slight hitch that might ruin it for some of you: Carrion is short.
I know that’s going to be a deal-breaker for some of you, considering it took me under 4 hours to complete it. That includes the backtracking I did to gobble up a couple of missed upgrades. It’s beyond short by a number of games I’ve been working on lately, but man is it refreshing to just have an excellent one-and-done experience. Too many games nowadays seem to need to pad out the experience to give the player that high game time vs cash invested. Carrion might be short, but it was great run, worth your money and time. Consider giving it a shot.