Retro Games Rediscovered: Carrion


Do you enjoy movies like the Thing or the Blob?  Have you ever cheered for or wanted to be the monster in a horror film?  Do you enjoy watching people getting splattered in movies or games, dying in gross and interesting ways?  With that said let’s take a look at the animated trailer for Carrion

Don’t worry, I’ll wait right here…

Thoughts?  Absolutely aces, I know.  It’s creepy, it’s gross, and it’s spectacular.  If you’ve ever wanted to play the Thing this is totally your opportunity.  Ready to dig into the game a little more?  Alright, let’s go.

The Game

Developed by Phobia Game Studio and released by Devolver Digital, Carrion was released in late July 2020.  The game is described as ‘reverse horror’, meaning that instead of the player trying to escape the monster and survive, the player is the monster and tries to escape.  The premise is pretty simple: you are a sentient, amorphous blob very reminiscent of the Thing.  You wake up inside of a stasis container, deep inside an underground lab, being monitored by a couple of tasty snacks scientists.  Needless to say this situation does not positively influence your current mental state.  You’re able to gather enough strength to break open the container and devour the helpless people in the room, but not before they trigger an alarm that places the lab in lock down.  From there the player follows the tutorial in performing basic skills and tasks, such as moving, manipulating objects, and, of course, devouring every possible person in your path.

Nom nom nom.  I iz hungry.

The graphics are based on pixel art style, which I absolutely love.  This brings me back to my SNES days spending hours playing Flashback.  The music is good, the level effects are creepy, and the story is interesting.  Long and short of the story: you recover your ‘memories’ as the game progresses and attempt to break out of containment.  There’s just enough of a basic story there to keep things moving and give you an idea of what’s going on.  But let’s face facts: we’re not playing this game for the story.  We’re here for the monster and all his/her/its squishy killing ability.

The levels and maps are very much based on a Metroidvania format.  Progression happens in a non-linear fashion and shortcuts to different sections are unlocked as new skills are discovered.  Skills are acquired by finding isolated DNA strands in containment pods, which are found in locked or guarded areas players must navigate and obtain.  As the monster is able to unlock new abilities it also grows in size, which isn’t always a good thing.  Each size, small, medium, and large, allows for certain skills to be used, but also makes the creature faster or slower, and more or less durable.  Lastly, encountering genetic pools along the way allow the creature to increase or decrease size to suit puzzle requirements, and players can always return to reconstitute their ‘lost pieces’.

Pro gamer tip: fire sucks real bad and once lit you continue to burn until you put it out.  Find a water source to douse those flames or you’ll end up extra crispy.

But the game isn’t just puzzles.  Aside from that, players encounter armed security, with weapons ranging from sidearms, to shotguns, to flamethrowers.  In addition, players can expect to find static defenses, drones, and even the occasional mech that means business.  Balancing patience and aggression become key in dealing with enemies that can fight back.  And when that fails you can always pick up items like chairs, explosive containers, and half eaten bodies to huck at opponents.  It may distract them just long enough to get the quick kill you need.

The game takes players between four and eight hours to beat.  Some may say that’s short for a game but for me it lasts just long enough to keep folks engaged and doesn’t overstay its welcome.  If you’re hoping for a multiplayer mode I’ve got to pass along the bad news that there isn’t one, but if you stop and think it doesn’t need any additional play modes.  As far as difficulty is concerned, overall it’s pretty average but there are sections where enemies and puzzles make you think or may get a bit frustrating.  Would I recommend this game?  You bet I would, if nothing more than to slurp and slide through caves and labs, killing everything in your path.  Which, face it, is what we really came here to do.  Carrion can be found on Steam, Xbox, Playstation, and Nintendo Switch.

[This post was originally published at Otherverse Games & Hobbies]

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A New England transplant that originated from parts westward, Ryan is a bit of a nerd that knows a little bit about a lot of things, all while claiming to know nothing about anything.  Seemingly part Khajit a logistician by trade, he’s the kind of guy that can get you virtually anything if there’s coin to be had a problem to solve.  Ryan began to learn the scrounging arts while serving time in parts east as a Loggie and has been perfecting them steadily over several decades.  He has a problem with continually purchasing models, paints, and terrain that he doesn’t really need but his wife doesn’t seem to mind.

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