The terrifyingly creepy tentacled Carrion is available now for the Nintendo Switch delivering a unique twist of the Metroidvania genre. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to play the evil monster instead of the “good guys”? You’re about to find out! Take control of a red slimy creature of unknown origin in this reverse horror game as you feed on the humans who imprisoned you. Along the way you’ll find new abilities that will help your progress.
Carrion is a solid addition in the Metroidvania genre with a few minor flaws that hinders it from true greatness. Like most games in the genre, you’ll be exploring a 2D environment with limited pathways at first, but as you gain new abilities the map opens up. The game’s overworld is actually quite large and there are plenty of areas to explore and spread your seed in.
Unfortunately this is where my problem with Carrion started. There is no map in the game. As you can imagine this makes the game unnecessarily difficult as there is quite a bit of backtracking that the player will need to do to find power-ups, extras, and to progress the story. This was the most frustrating aspect of the game which would have, honestly, made the game much more enjoyable and less of a chore to get through.
With the bad out of the way, Carrion is a lot of fun! I thought playing as an amorphous creature might be hard to control but it was surprisingly easy. The controls are tight and responsive as well. There are several abilities to find which power up your creature making it bigger and stronger but slower and easier to be spotted. Fortunately there are red pools which you can choose to deposit a part of the monster in to make its body smaller so you can use its abilities that are only available in a certain size.
As you might have guessed there are plenty of puzzles which require you to utilize all the body types and abilities at your disposal to progress through the world. Each puzzle always felt clever and rewarding to solve, such as taking over the mind of a human to unlock certain doors or take out a few enemies before storming in a room.
How you choose to enter a room is entirely up to you. You can choose to be stealthy or go all out, tentacles roaring. Most times stealth was the better option for me, but the game is not too difficult to the point where you have to play stealthy to progress.
Carrion boasts beautiful 2D retro inspired graphics that would be right at home on the SNES. The monster’s animation is always delightfully creepy withering around menacingly snatching people up. The soundtrack perfectly lent to the horror atmosphere of the game with pieces that invoked the sci-fi greats like Alien. Hearing the terrified screams of the people running away and the monster’s growls were also satisfying in a dark way.
There’s not much of a story to write home about with the game seeming to play closer to the 16-bit ones of the past. I wished that there was more of a narrative to the game to let me know why I was doing what I was doing. Then again, there’s a certain mystique and maybe a monster doesn’t need a reason to devour anything and everything that moves. Plus, it was still great to wreak havoc upon everyone in my way – story or no story.
Carrion is a unique and fun addition to the Switch’s library that could have been so much better with simple fixes like a map to track exploration and a simple story. It’s still satisfying to lurk around as the creature and stalk human prey in this reverse-horror adventure that looks great in both docked and handheld modes. If you’re a fan of Metroidvania style games then you’ll no doubt have fun with it… until you get lost and stuck for 30 minutes trying to figure out what to do next.
- Graphics - 8/108/10
- Sound - 8/108/10
- Gameplay - 6/106/10
- Lasting Appeal - 7/107/10
Final Thoughts: GOOD
Carrion is a fun reverse-horror game that could have been much better than it is with a few simple fixes, but what we got is still pretty good. Stalking humans and slithering around feels as great as it sounds.
Tony has been gaming ever since he could walk. Pokémon Blue Version helped him learn how to read. His greatest accomplishment is not just having played the entire Kingdom Hearts series but also understanding it.