As you're slinking around air ducts and planning a surprise attack on a helpless scientist, it's difficult not to feel empowered by Carrion 's approach to horror. Here you aren't the one slowly peeking around each corner to make sure you're safe--you're the one doing the hunting, leaving a gory trail of devastation as you pick apart an underground laboratory one department at a time. When Carrion gives you the tools to be the best betentacled killing machine you can be, it's a satisfying monster simulator with engaging puzzles and clever combat, but it falters in moments where you don't feel as in control as you should be.
Carrion's star is undoubtedly the gooey red monster you play as. Simply moving around is immensely satisfying. It feels as though you're constantly floating, with extending appendages latching onto surfaces around you to feed into the illusion of chaotic but calculated traversal. By making movement effortless, Carrion lets you appreciate how good it looks in motion, from squeezing your red mass into a narrow air duct to transforming into a school of parasitic worms to swim through grates. There are a handful of instances where your size makes orienting yourself slightly challenging, but they're small teething issues as you learn to navigate around.
When you consume humans, you gain life and grow, while the reverse happens when you take damage. As you progress through each level, you unlock new abilities which are directly tied to your current size. When you're at your largest, you can cause devastating damage by sending a flurry of tentacles forward and viciously pulling anything in their way towards you. At a medium size, you can encase yourself in spikes and roll around a room dealing damage in all directions, while your smallest sizes offer more utility-style abilities like stealth and a handy stun attack. Tying abilities to your size makes combat dynamic, where you're constantly watching the damage you take and adjusting your strategy as you go. It takes a bit to get comfortable with the sudden ability shifts in the heat of the moment, but getting access to movesets that let you dominate or flee a fight when you need them feels great.