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Carrion Review – Brilliant 2D Action-Adventure Horror Game

Reviewing Carrion, one of the best 2D action adventure games I’ve played in 2020. It features intelligent puzzles, stunning pixel-art visuals, captivating battles, stealth gameplay and innovative animation and gameplay mechanics. A Must-have game for puzzle and action adventure fans.

In this post, I’ll review Carrion game for PC. Carrion turned out to be one of the more interesting and unique horror 2D action-adventure games that I’ve played in 2020.

The funny thing is that when I visited Steam, I saw that I set it to be “Ignored”. Yesterday I saw that the game is available via Xbox Game Pass (for PC for me) and I’ve decided to try it out, and I am so happy that I did.

Carrion is a 2D Reverse Horror in which you play as an amorphous creature of unknown origin. The game immediately gave me the “Alien” movie vibes. Not it’s called ‘Reverse Horror” because you don’t play as the creature, rather than the one who tried to fight the creature.

It’s up to you to try to escape from a facility of those who imprisoned you while terrorizing anyone in that facility.

Gameplay Mechanics

The creatures move throughout the level in a very organic matter and that’s one of the most innovative character movements I’ve seen in a game in a long time. Your arms will automatically reach areas to move forward as you use the left mouse button to point to the direction where you want to go. The animation of the character was implemented beautiful and makes moving through the level and fighting so much more fun than traditional walk-and-jump movement.

CARRION Review - Innovative 2D Reverse Horror Action Adventure Game

The creature can dispose of and retrieve biomass in pools that are spread throughout the level. As you progress you’ll obtain ways to increase the level of your mass and those expose new abilities.

Depositing biomass in a pool to become smaller in size
Depositing or retrieving biomass in a pool to become smaller or larger in size and inherit unique abilities (abilities shown in the corners of the screen)

[Minor spoiler] In one puzzle I need to get beneath a certain location, control a human, make him open a lever which made an area filled with water, and then swim through it on the other side.
[end of minor spoiler]

Those abilities can be cloaking yourself, making yourself invisible to detectors and humans, take control over humans, pulling and pushing barriers, etc. The puzzles in Carrion are built around knowing when and where to use the abilities, and shelling out or obtaining more biomass to expose different abilities for your character.

Large biomass, creature is very large and more prone to getting hit.
Large biomass makes you more powerful but more expose to hits; small biomass makes you smaller and employ stealth abilities.

As you progress, you’ll need to manage your biomass to solve smart puzzles and use them effectively to win in combat.

Combat is unforgiving. Every hit from a firearm, turret, mech machine gun or flamethrower hurts a lot. You lose biomass when you get hit. So if you get hit a lot, you won’t be able to use certain abilities. If your biomass hits zero, it’s game over.

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There are frequent checkpoints in Carrion. Even if you save the game it will be from the last checkpoint. Checkpoints are spread quite often, so you won’t find a situation when you really need to walk minutes until you get to that same area that you failed at. So it’s not like many roguelite games where it can be very punishing to die, and you won’t lose any of your abilities doing so either.

Due to that checkpoint and tight gameplay levels, I didn’t find myself getting lost, despite that there is backtracking in this game. Some people did report getting lost from the reviews I’ve read on Steam, but again, levels are relatively small and I don’t think it will be an issue for you as well.

Carrion keeps a good balance between game difficulty, respawn points, and challenging gameplay. It feels rewarding but never frustrating.

At some points during the game you’ll be switching between the monster and take the human perspective, but most of the time you’ll be playing as the monster. This is just to give you a taste of the other side of the story.

Visuals & Music

Another part where Carrion really shines. The game features a pixel art style yet it’s very much detailed. The download size is only 198MB believe it or not and what you get is absolutely incredible.

Carrion features beautiful pixel-art style visuals
Carrion features beautiful and detailed pixel-art style visuals

The same goes for the music in Carrion. It’s dynamic and perfectly matches the situation and enhanced the tension like in horror movies. Believe me, it will be intense as those gunshots really hurt and I died many times throughout the game.

Summary

Carrion turned out to be one of the better games I’ve played in 2020. The innovative very organic shape-changing character movement and animation and intelligent puzzles and immersion made me enjoy this game a lot. It’s not a long game, I’ve read that it averages around 5 hours for most players, and therefore it does live more to be desired (hopefully more will come via DLCs).

It’s one of those games that deserve a lot more attention. It’s one of those games that you can easily miss if you are not a fan of the pixel art style but once you try it, you’ll know that you could have missed an amazing game.

As of the time of making this review, the game is available via Xbox Game Pass but you can buy it on Steam as well. Overall, highly recommended for anyone who loves brain-teasing puzzles, stealth, and action-adventure games in general with a captivating horror theme that delivers on all fronts.

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