Carrion Xbox One Review

March 14, 2021 by  
Filed under Xbox One, Reviews & Features, Xbox

Game: Carrion Publisher: Devolver Digital  Developer: Phobia Game Studio  Genre: Horror  

Players: 1  Age Rating: 18+  Other console/handheld formats: PS4, Switch 

Related Sites: Devolver Digital, Carrion


A lot of games these days seem to set out to give some kind of meaningful social commentary in their narrative. Then there are those games that truly know what you want to do – cause complete mayhem, and Carrion allows you to do just that. You control a red, tentacled monster whose goal it is to break out of the scientific facility it has been contained in. Described as a metroidvania game, it sees you sliding down various tunnels as you navigate your way to the outside world.

The controls in Carrion are easy to use and very satisfying, with the creature travelling at high speed and being able to slip and slide all over the screen, latching onto walls with its wriggly tentacles. To interact with your environment, you aim the left analogue stick in any direction and press the right trigger button to activate the action, which usually involves tearing down metal barriers or picking up panicking science personnel and sliding them into your large, sharp-toothed mouth – or simply tossing them to and fro as you enjoy the amusing physics and screams of terror. You might think this is sadistic, but eating people helps increase low health.

Carrion

You can run, but you can’t hide.

As you progress, your monster can find containment chambers to upgrade and gain new abilities, and these abilities will allow you to return to previous areas to finally gain access to them. As you upgrade, your body – or biomass – will grow, and the abilities you can use are based on how much biomass you are carrying. At times you’ll need to drop some of your mass – in special red, slimy oozy areas – in order to be able to use abilities you picked up earlier on. Some of your abilities include shooting a web, turning invisible, protruding spikes from your body and becoming overall stronger to be able to break through stronger barriers. This means that when entering a new area or when simply exploring, you need to keep in mind exactly what abilities you might need to use and where to deposit your extra mass. It all adds to the puzzle element of the game.

As a metroidvania game, there is a lot of exploration and quite a bit of backtracking, and one issue that plagues the game is that there is no map, and it is very easy to get lost. You’ll find yourself having navigated successfully through an area, only to find yourself back in the main hub and scratching your head about where to go next. Of course the option of having a map was left out because it wouldn’t make sense for a monster to be reading directions, but some indication would have been welcome.

There are times when you’ll also experience flashbacks, in which you take control of a human scientist. These give the game some semblance of a story as you discover how the monster came into being. These sections are short so as not to impact the flow of the main game, and you’ll find yourself back to slaughtering people in no time.

There’s not many games that allow you to play as the main enemy, and in Carrion it is the main appeal of the game. Carrion, while the creature itself is in captivity, gives a strange sense of freedom as you move about swiftly tearing up the place. With its 2D pixelated graphics, it’s also a throwback to games of old, adding an extra layer of appeal with the nostalgia.

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