As a kid, I was always curious as to what it would be like in the shoes of a blob monster. I was always intrigued by how they got around, how they were so stealthy and how they were so good at getting around their prey’s defences and taking their victims lives. Phobia Games Studio gives you that opportunity to become the monster within CARRION and experience firsthand how smart and strategic mass monsters really are.
Getting past the start screen, there really isn’t any back story you are just thrown into the mix by busting out of a containment tube, which immediately sets up the objective to escape the underground research facility that you are in. There are certain perspective changes in the game in which you play as a researcher, so whether the monster and the researcher are connected, well that is just something to figure out along the way.
CARRION’s game play is where the real beauty of this game lies, it is addictively enjoyable, as you crunch on human bones and devour your prey, however, it is the game’s strategical elements that really make this game unique. Rather than have a game that simply sees a mass monster easily just devour everything and having the attitude to go all guns blazing without a single thought, CARRION does require thinking and proper strategy planning, which gives you the realisation that not all monsters are as brainless as we think.
At first, your enemies are quite easy to take down as you bust out of corners and rip them to shreds, consuming them or picking them up and hulk smashing them to the ground. However, as you progress, things get a lot more trickier. Your enemies start to equip themselves with heavier hitting weapons such as guns, flamethrowers, massive mech suits, and that is when you really have to really think about your way of attack.
If you do take heavy damage, there are certain save points, which are like nest’s that you can restore your health or simply devouring a human will have the same effect. As you also devour humans, your mass increases. Now size really matters in this game and there are 3 sizes that each has its own skill set and abilities, which you can use to solve puzzles or take down enemies with heavier damage. There is also the inclusion of containment tubes that hold special abilities you can unlock that really help change the tide of the battle.
Being insanely big has the advantage of doing heavier damage such as impaling your enemies with spikes, even taking over their minds, which I found myself enjoying while being on a massive power trip, however, it makes you more exposed to enemy attacks and you’re a lot slower getting through cracks. Being medium-sized makes you more insanely versatile and quick, while packing a more heavier punch (my favourite), whereas being small you are easily able to navigate more quicker yet if you come into the crosshairs of a mech suit – be very careful, it could very easily lead to instant death. The only thing that had me a tad annoyed was that there was no inclusion of a map, so navigation was sometimes a bit hard, but as you wander you sometimes get a sense of where to go next.
I really enjoyed the puzzles in this game. You really have to think about what size you have to be to solve a certain puzzle and the ability you have to use in that particular size to further progress.
The pixel art style that most indie games adapt to has always been something I admire and during play I kept saying saying, “It’s like playing through a painting.” The environment is vibrantly colourful and eerily coloured. Particularly when your mass drags along the ground it paints blood stains, which I thought was incredibly unique. You also have the option to backtrack and search areas you missed, only if you’re the type of gamer that really likes to explore rather than your usual tunnel vision gamer.
I found that the CARRION sound effects were spot on; the screams, the doors crashing, the devouring and bone-crunching were all absolutely perfect and nailed so accurately, it respectively paid homage to most mass monsters included in various adaptations of film, is extremely believable and just added more depth and influenced my appreciation for the game.
For the entire six hours I played through CARRION, I was just on a power trip being the monster, which was just so satisfying, and honestly, I have never experienced a more satisfying monster game. I would definitely recommend this to anyone that is a fan of causing chaos and becoming a force not to reckoned with. CARRION is definitely a game to have in the collection, I cannot stress enough how much disturbing joy this game really brings.
My hats off to you Phobia Game Studio, well done!
CARRION is available now on Nintendo Switch, XBox One and PC.