If you've ever wondered what a horror movie would be like from the monster's perspective, then Carrion is the right game for you. Developed by Phobia Game Studio and published by Devolver Digital, Carrion has the player assume the role of an amorphous creature whose sole job is to escape the facility that it's trapped inside. Of course, that means players will consume anything and everything that gets in their way, though it's certainly possible to move around using stealth from time to time.
On the surface, Carrion appears to be another run of the mill sidescroller that's trying to revolutionize the Metroidvania genre in the modern day, but in addition to its easy-on-the-eyes pixel art, the game has a lot going for it. Growing the creature (which results in increased strength and durability) and upgrading its abilities is the crux of Carrion, though it's not the only aspect. Traversing through each stage of a level requires strategy and puzzle solving, similar to other platformer titles. In one instance, we had to use the monster's stealth ability to cross a laser so that the door on the other side (which we opened after solving another puzzle) didn't close.
What makes the gameplay all the better is that it's not only about feasting and becoming as large and strong as possible but rather knowing when to use that power and when to scale-down so as to pass through certain areas. Again, it's very much a reverse horror game designed after traditional 2D platformers. And just as its official description suggests, playing Carrion is perhaps the best way to experience what it would be like to be a monster in a horror movie, and it's absolutely satisfying. Players can finally get revenge on all the aliens that have killed them in virtually every other sci-fi game out there.
Coupling its gameplay with a unique art style heightens the horror element, but not in such a way that makes the game scary. Instead, Carrion provides an atmospheric component that's difficult to come by these days. Usually, a horror game is created in such a way to elicit a response from the players, typically a frightening reaction, but in this case, the tables have been turned. And its overall tone, which can easily be gleaned by watching the E3 trailer, is defined by its aesthetic. When asked why they chose to go that route, one of Carrion's devs said "because it's cool," and honestly, they really didn't need another reason, because it all works.
Carrion's gameplay as a whole has been thought through logically; you can't waltz into a room and take out everyone without being harmed (or knowing what you're doing). Of course, considering where Carrion is in its development, it's understandable that there were some minor glitches - nothing game-breaking, though. However, in our playthrough, the biggest gripe we walked away with was the way in which players have to grab ahold of objects - be it doors, levers, or people - but some minor tweaks to the control system can fix that, so it's not as big of a deal. At least not right now.