Carrion review | PC Gamer

Need to know

What is it? 2D Metroidvania action game in which you escape a facility as formless monster.
Reviewed on: Windows 10, AMD Ryzen 7 1700, 16GB RAM, Radeon RX480
Price: $20/£17
Release date: Out now
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Developer: Phobia Game Studio
Multiplayer: None
Link: Official site

John Carpenter’s The Thing, the 1980s horror classic about Antarctic researchers stuck inside a base with a monster trying to assimilate, imitate, and murder them, revels in paranoia. The movie’s characters do not know who among them might be the titular Thing or where it disappears to when it escapes, so the conflict with the creature becomes an internal conflict. Entertainment has mined this idea so thoroughly that, as I experienced the perspective of a vicious monster acting on instinct in the opening moments of Carrion, I found a sense of calm in the simple and relatable motivations of merely wanting to consume and escape.

There is no overwrought origin story, no scientist narrating the truth depths of danger that the seemingly underground laboratory now finds itself in. People are running, the monster eats those people, the monster really does not like getting shot so it should probably eat people before they shoot. This is Carrion’s tutorial sequence, introducing the player to the smooth controls which allow them to traverse a dank underground laboratory by attaching tentacles to every surface with no interference or complication. The monster moves in the direction it’s told, evoking a feeling of flight as it slithers around the room and along the tops of ceilings.

(Image credit: Phobia Game Studio/Devolver Digital)

It’s with that same gusto that Carrion pursues all its systems. The game is a Metroidvania in concept, but the espresso shot version of one, without offering much of the way in actual exploration. You move the monster throughout the base, seeking simply to get outside, growing larger by absorbing biomass (eating people) and then distributing that biomass into holes in the wall to spread through the laboratory. Doing so opens up new paths and crucial progress doors that lead to new areas, and is also surprisingly gross.

Source link