I probably have never really touched upon my love for John Carpenter’s The Thing in an Entertainium article before. It’s one of my favorite horror movies ever, and I could easily make a case as to why it’s still looks incredible. That’s mainly due to the fact that the moviemakers behind it knew how to dose it with just the right amount of body horror while at the same time keeping things somewhat grounded. I would definitely be remiss if I didn’t make that connection when I saw Carrion, one of two games being shown at Devolver’s swanky off-site spot at E3.
One of the weirder games to come out of this year’s Nintendo E3 Direct, Carrion has been development by a Polish studio called Phobia Game for about four years. It’s all about causing as much carnage as possible, because well, you feed on it. You play as a captured monster, an alien creature who feeds on human flesh in order to grow and become ever more powerful. When you escape, you start out pretty weak, but as you slink around levels at high speed and eat any humans you come across, you start to get bigger and stronger, and much like Phobia’s admitted inspiration for the game, The Thing, quite uncontrollable.
That is, the poor soldiers and scientists you tear through the game are the ones lacking control, since the tentacled blob of blood that you control is anything but lacking in that department. It felt extremely fluid to guide the monster around walls, through ducts and opening paths in the most entertaining fashion, like breaking down doors into unsuspecting fools. And then eating them. That’s a vital part of the game, since the bigger you grow, the more powers you’re able to use.
Progression in Carrion plays out as you explore the map and unlock new save points. Getting to these is also the way with which you open up paths to the next parts of the map. They have you unlock two for every new portal, so not only do you have to find save rooms for the mere fact of not wanting to use progress, it’s another excuse to fully exploring the map since it’s the only way to keep going. And going is what you’ll want to keep doing all throughout this game, because enemies don’t pull any punches, and towards the later parts of the demo, they started coming out with stronger weapons and even armor, forcing us to grab ahold and chucking them around, or completely avoiding their flame attacks while trying to beat them as fast as possible.
The whole gameplay structure of Carrion is quite familiar to anyone who’s been playing indie games in the last few years, but its delivery is something else. I absolutely adored its presentation, and to be frank, for as gory as the game is, it feels fresh. I mean, how many games allow you to be a horrible monster and wanting it to win? There’s no announced release date as of yet, but according to the devs, it should be out sometime in 2020.