Most horror games put players in the shoes of weak protagonists who cower and flee from the monstrous beasts that haunt them. In Carrion, players instead get to take on the role of the monstrous beast as it breaks out of a secret laboratory, and they get a front row seat to the gory chaos that follows. Carrion is unique in that it is incredibly violent, but yet there are almost as many puzzles to solve as there are humans to kill.
Carrion begins with the monster trapped inside a small biohazard container in surrounded by scientists. Once the player breaks out they only have two goals: Eat everything in their path and escape. The story never gets any more complicated than that, but that is a good thing for Carrion. Because of this there are few distractions to take away from the fun and exciting gameplay.
As players progress through Carrion they will be able to destroy other biohazard containers in order to evolve their monster. These evolutions grant the player powerful new abilities and attacks, but also allows the monster to grow in size by consuming humans. The growth mechanic is one of the most interesting, because players can only use certain abilities in specific size categories. Carrion forces players to decide if they would rather have more health and destructive attacks or be able to move faster and use more defensive abilities. The different sizes of the monster have their pros and cons, so players will need to decide which one fits their current situation.
Combat can be brutally difficult in Carrion, but that doesn't stop it from being loads of fun. Most humans don't put up much of a fight against the tentacled beast, but there are other enemies that can kill the player in a manner of seconds. Some humans wear combat armor, wear shields, and carry rifles and flamethrowers that make combat much more interesting. There are also mini-gun wielding mech-suits and drones that can dish out a large amount of damage. Attacking these kinds of enemies head-on is a death wish, especially early on in Carrion. Instead players have to learn how to use their different abilities to pick off enemies on at at time.
Players will need to keep their abilities and the size of their monster in mind for Carrion's environmental puzzles as well. Abilities like the web tendril can be used to flip switches through small holes in the walls, but it can only be used in the smallest size category. This means that players will have to put themselves at risk by only having a small amount of health in order to complete puzzles like this. It is an interesting mechanic that works extremely well by forcing players to weigh the risks of navigating their environment. It won't work to just rush through each environment and gobble everything up. Carrion rewards careful players who think before they destroy.
Carrion also has some light Metroidvania mechanics when it comes to exploring the environment. The abilities that players obtain by evolving can be used to unlock aspects of the map by flipping switches or busting through wooden platforms. This means that players will find themselves traveling back through a lot of the same locations, but with their new abilities they have the option of discovering new upgrades or paths tucked away in hidden locations.
On top of the normal evolutions, players can also obtain non-essential upgrades that can boost their skills considerably. There are a lot of different ways that these upgrades can effect the player's monster, like one that gives players additional tendrils to pick up enemies and objects with. These upgrades aren't required to finish Carrion, but they can come in very handy for the more difficult combat encounters. That means that players who are struggling to progress can always go exploring previous areas in order to gain some upgrades.
The only real issue that Carrion has is that it can be difficult to know where to go next sometimes. There are no waypoints or objectives of any sort, so in the later parts it can be difficult to navigate. This becomes even more true when players have to travel back through earlier areas to find ways to progress. There are times when the player may find themselves wandering aimlessly or taking a wrong turn and not remembering how to return. The best advice is that players should try to stick to the beaten path unless they remember exactly how to get back.
Carrion isn't a very long game, and most gamers will probably be able to beat it in about half a dozen hours. It is very much worth every single second though. Playing as a horrific monster destroying everything in its path is a lot of fun, and it never gets old to rip pesky humans and drones to pieces. Carrion goes hard and fast, but never overstays its welcome.
TechRaptor reviewed Carrion on PC using a copy provided by the publisher. The game is also available on Nintendo Switch and Xbox One.
- Unique Control Scheme And Mechanics
- Useful Upgrades
- Diverse And Challenging Enemies
- Mix of Combat And Puzzles
- Navigation Can Be Confusing