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CARRION Review: Become the Nightmare!



One of the reasons why video games have become one of the most popular entertainment media is the opportunity to play and play a role as a hero. He provides an opportunity that is almost impossible you can get in the real world, with minimal risk. Although other media such as films, for example, often take up the same theme, the opportunity to explore it interactively gives a different sensation. Cool again? The creative process that involves so many brains, especially those coming from indie developers who in fact need to prove themselves, also makes this formula always get its own twist. As offered by Phobia Game Studio through their latest game - CARRION.

Because it is different from other monster games where you play the role of military forces or survivors reinforced with a variety of weapons and the need to solve puzzles to subdue the monster, CARRION instead asks you to act as the monster. You must act as the terror in the form of lumps of meat that not only move quickly and agile along the gaps of the building, but also do not mind to tear your body into small pieces if needed. All of them were presented with pixel art visualization which seemed to be, indeed, strongly associated with the indie scene itself.

So, what exactly does CARRION offer? Why do we call it a game that will ask you to play the role of the nightmare? This review will discuss it deeper for you.

PLOT


From the side of the story, CARRION is a straightforward game. Not much to build the background of the story through cut-scenes and the like, you act as a lump of flesh with consciousness suddenly awakened in a mysterious facility. Rest? It seems you can predict.

The lump of meat moves naturally to not only find a way out, but also to find out more about the facilitation in which it is being held. Present as a terror that is so hungry for blood and flesh, this facility turns out to contain a variety of materials that can make it not only grow, but also expand and increasingly threaten. Of course, the motion will not run as smooth as imagined. Facility owners also prepare themselves with various weapons to prepare themselves in nightmare scenarios like this.


Tentacles at the End of Life

From the lore side, CARRION has never injected an official name for the character of the lump of meat you are controlling. Monsters that never have a definite shape and are flexible enough to move through the gaps of a small room even though it does carry almost all the quality of the presentation that makes it, has a strong impression as a monster that you must fear. Pixel art approach that carried this game did not "grab" the horror he was able to produce. The best part comes from the animation side.

It was amazing to see how CARRION was executing this monster motion animation. That to be able to move super fast, without you having to manually trigger it at all, you can see how it gives birth to small tentacles that stick to the surrounding area to push it in a certain direction to just move. This tentacle motion is increasingly "crazy" with an increasingly long distance along with its enlarged size. Cool again? Only a short time, playing with the mouse + keyboard though, will produce an intuitive sensation of movement. You can always move wherever you want as long as possible, and motion animation that should follow that.

This pixel art approach is also followed by visualization of building a world that deserves thumbs up. We're not only talking about the details of the area per facility that makes the experience of playing not feel repetitive, but also other small things that are increasingly establishing your status as a monster that is so feared. As an example? If you are near non-military NPC characters who don't have weapons, they will run, scream, hide in the corner of the room, and try to stay away from you as best they can. You will feel that you are the real terror. Rest? The variety of gore content that is presented is good regardless of the pixel art format that he carries, from the sprinkling of blood that is even ready to pollute the entire room to body parts that you can enjoy like a small snack in the afternoon.

All of which are also supported by the audio side which is above average. You will be treated to behind-the-scenes music that feels right with the theme of terror that CARRION is trying to raise. The music that you get seems to strengthen the mystery that he is carrying while clarifying the terror produced by the lump of flesh. The quality is almost similar to music playing in tense situations when you enjoy classy Hollywood sci-fi films. The music itself is handled by the figure of Cris Velasco who had handled several horror games such as Resident Evil 7 and ZombiU in the past. Although this track is not exactly unique or dominant when you play CARRION, it does its job so well to build the atmosphere that it should.

With this combination of elements, despite the fact that it is present in pixel art format, CARRION appears with an atmosphere of mystery that is full of mystery that supports it. The best part of our eyes lies in the animation side of the monster that is so fast, flowing, intuitive, and the other side - enough to make your hair crawl if you imagine you are stuck with it in the same location.


Surprisingly, Metroidvania

By looking at the screenshots that we included in this review article, you seem to have guessed about the gameplay approach as carried by CARRION. Acting as the monster, you will be provided with a special button that can be used to "hold" certain objects. If you "hold" humans, you can pull them back into the lump to cut them off and eat them. If you "hold" several objects such as a door or door switch panel, for example, you can move them. The monster is also equipped with the ability to not only move super fast, but also cling to the walls of the facility freely if you wish. He acts like a monster he should.

Most of the missions you undertake are simple - moving from one point to another, which from the side of the story is focused on the desire of the monster to dive deeper into the facility that could hold it. During the trip, you will be faced with a slow but sure variant of the challenge, requiring a strategy to be subdued. In the beginning, only rows of innocent people are just waiting for their death in front of your fangs. But as the story moves, the deeper the facility you explore, there is an escalation of challenges. You will meet militia groups with shields and machine guns, militia groups with flamethrowers, to giant mechas with gatling guns that can kill you quickly. Each of these enemies needs their own way to be defeated. As an example? Militia groups with shields cannot be beaten from the front, so you need to pull and consume them from behind or below.

Cool again? The eating-eating action of the monster is not for mere aesthetic matters. He will also restore the pieces of health he has, while making him appear bigger. Size does play an important role in CARRION, considering that it will determine what kind of skills you can access. When it is small / normal, it can fire a small net that can capture enemies and access switches from a distance. But once he reaches a certain size, the skill will be replaced with physical attack abilities that are able to destroy more obstacles, such as wooden doors for example. This different body mechanism will also be one of the basic mechanics for the variety of puzzles that you find, where certain body portions will be required to solve them. The good news? CARRION also provides a special pool where you can change sizes without risk.

With the puzzle content and various strengths that can be accessed, you seem to be able to guess what kind of experience CARRION offers. That the essence is more directed to the Metroidvania games on the market today. For those of you who are not too familiar, Metroidvania leads to the "sub-genre" side-scrolling game where the main character will get a new weapon or ability to be able to access new areas. The same thing happened in this CARRION. With the location of the power up in the shape of a scattered biohazard tube, the blob will be strengthened with more new abilities. You will meet with upgrades that are essential to continuing the story, such as the ability to camouflage and outwit laser sensor systems for example. But for those of you who are diligent in the exploration process, there are also non-essential rewards such as the ability to throw two tentacles for extra capture and more effective consumption of corpses.

So like the Metroidvania game in general, there will be a need for backtracking at some point in the story - where you have to revisit locations that you had "finished" because of the new abilities you received. But this opens up one of CARRION's biggest weaknesses - that it doesn't have a map system at all. That's right, the game that contains a labyrinthine level design will not help you with a map system to provide information about locations that you have and will explore. For games like this, the absence of essential features like this of course produces a sense of frustration, especially if you are confused where you should move next. It is impossible for you to remember what your new level looks like before and if it contains a new area that can be opened with the newest power you just got.


Conclusion

As an indie game with a refreshing premise, CARRION ends up being a metroidvania game that is just as fun. That a game that asks you to act as a monster turns out to not only sell unique concepts as an attraction, but also combined with qualified pixel art visualization with super smooth monster motion animation. All of which are reinforced by action gameplay that turns out to need a strategy to be subdued, where you don't necessarily end up being an overpowered monster that doesn't need to think too much to overcome any existing threat. Who would have thought that playing an anonymous lump of meat like this could end up being an intense and enjoyable experience at the same time.

If we have to talk about weaknesses, it seems like there are two things we should talk about. First, of course the problem of the lack of maps that make games with a "metroidvania" approach like this appear like a nightmare, especially if the level design itself has a texture similar to each other, given the main setting used is a secret facility. Second? Of course lore. Building a mystery story with an anonymous blob might sound cool at the beginning, but in the end, it doesn't give you many reasons why you should care about what's going on. There is no dialogue, no characters with names that deserve attention, there is no reason to care about all the humans you meet other than seeing them as food.

But of course, compared to the price he was carrying, especially with the price of the region offered by Steam, there is no reason for you not to taste this CARRION. That the concept turned out to be a nightmare for mankind instead of living the nightmare like other games, in fact it could end up being a cool concept with solid gameplay.

PROS

Flexible monster movements
Challenges need a strategy to inject
Metroidvania style
The quality of the puzzle presented
Cool pixel art approach
The right music

CONS

Lore was not explored much
There is no map system