Legendary author Stephen King recently shared his desire to craft a story from the point of view of Jason Voorhees, the masked, undying killer of Friday the 13th fame. Considering King’s tweet went viral and made headlines, it’s safe to assume that either anything the horror author says is newsworthy or that people really want more stories told from the monster’s point of view. The truth is probably a bit of both.
Enter Carrion, the short and sweet horror game that lets you play as the jagged-toothed tentacle monstrosity who rips and tears through pixelated flesh in an attempt to escape captivity. While King’s Voorhees novel may or may not see the light of a day, you can check out Carrion right now and satisfy that bloodlust on PC, Xbox One or Switch.
Carrion is described as a “reverse horror” game by its creators which is a fitting descriptor. In this retro-inspired power trip, you play as the alien entity, exploring a diverse series of 2D environments, collecting new abilities and growing in size while solving environmental puzzles and laying waste to tiny (pathetic) humans.
The left control stick moves the monster while the right one covers the tentacles which move in unison. The trigger has the limbs interact with objects or pickup humans, who then can be tossed around the environment or pulled straight towards the monster’s gaping maws (yes, plural). Consuming humans serves a purpose beyond the spectacle as they replenish health and increase the monster’s mass. There’s great fluidity to the controls which feels like it should be at odds with the shape and the vast number of appendages. Thankfully, this monster is easy to handle.
The environments are largely confined to underground caverns and industrial sites which tend to feel samey after a while. It’s also easy to get lost in the non-linear locales as there’s no map to consult. When you do find the right path, chances are you’ll discover DNA strains that unlock new abilities like charging through barricades and controlling humans. These new skills serve both the increasingly difficult combat encounters and reaching previously closed-off sections of the game.
Carrion doesn’t have a traditional story, and it doesn’t need one. Several flashback sequences have you playing as speechless human scientists who first discovered the alien monster; beyond that, story beats are communicated through LED screens signalling responses to the outbreak and the abundance of screams sums up the general vibe quite well.
Carrion is a short game, coming in at around 3-4 hours, possibly longer if you get lost. The short length means it’s easier to overlook the shortcomings and ensures this game doesn’t wear out its welcome. While the pixelated graphics and basic nature of the gameplay won’t appeal to everyone, horror fans will have a blast tearing their way through this carnival of carnage.
And in case you were wondering, the word “carrion” refers to decaying flesh of dead animals—a fitting title for a game that ponders what could happen if the alien was the star of John Carpenter’s The Thing instead of Kurt Russell. Carrion is available now for PC, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.
The writer received a digital copy of the game courtesy of the publisher