Gori: Cuddly Carnage Preview
Usually, when I'm presented with a game that seems to mix and match different genres, I'd make a joke about how you'd get [game] by mixing [genre exemplar] with [funny meme]. In the case of Gori: Cuddly Carnage, I'm honestly a bit stumped! The closest I can manage is if you'd take Tony Hawk in all his skateboarding glory, give him the temperament and violent tendencies of Doom Guy, and put this creation of carnage and kickflips into platforming straight from the Ratchet & Clank franchise. That's Gori: Cuddly Carnage in a nutshell, and I got the privilege of trying it out!
Now, before we get into it, note that the preview consisted only of the fifth level of the game, so we're pretty far into the action at this point. The plot so far is seemingly an apocalyptical setting where “Ultra Pets”, genetically engineered perfect companions, have taken over the world. This force, coined the Adorable Army, is hell-bent on conquering everything and wiping out the dregs of humanity.
You play as Gori, a prototype pet companion created by Professor Y and fated for destruction as the more popular Ultra Pets take over. Professor Y rescues you, however, and introduces you to your companions: F.R.A.N.K, the blade-infused hoverboard, and CH1-P, the moody artificial intelligence. Your beloved Professor Y has now disappeared, forcing the three companions to set off for the current adventure.
At its core, Gori: Cuddly Carnage is a fast-paced spectacle fighter, complete with letter-graded performances and flashy moves. What makes the game stand out is the addition of both mobility and speed via your hoverboard, allowing you to zip around the battlefield doing tricks and introducing foes to the blender that is you. I absolutely loved the combat! The energy and hectic pace had my brain singing in chaos, and the humour had me chuckling at times, even though it was on the raunchy side. The combat offers a nice level of variety with different types of enemies that may require a certain type of weapon or attack to harm, in addition to environmental factors that keep you moving. The game even has a glory kill mechanic where you can take out weak enemies and get some health for your troubles!
Each battle will net you resources you can use to upgrade your skills and even buy new ones! There's also a selection of cosmetic options available for each character and your weapons, so you can slay both literally and metaphorically.
The platforming was fun, though not as flashy as the combat. F.R.A.N.K. can grind on billboards and rails, in addition to offering a solid double jump and a boost to get you a little bit further. In general, the platform is fun and snappy, offering some room to breathe in between the many combat encounters, but I did have some issues with the hoverboard. Since you are, by design, a bit floaty in your movements, I struggled when the platforming was especially tight, though that can also be attributed to my impatience since it's not that hard to just stop and reposition.
Both the audio and sound designs are great, with the soundtrack being a great and heavy rock-ish ensemble mixed with a disconcerting backing track of children's songs and playful tunes. Makes sense, as you're basically fighting toys. The enemies themselves range from slightly creepy but cute, such as the basic tiny unicorns filled with bloodlust, to the absolutely nightmarish, such as a dollhouse turning into a being of flesh and nope.
The level design is also amazing. The level I was allowed to explore, the Dollhouse, was a freakish amalgam of mediaeval castles, sentient baby dolls you need to shoot to open doors, and — stay with me here — floating doll heads that cry and shoot deadly lasers, after which they open up to drop out a brain-like organ that is their only weak point. Yeah. The level of (disturbed) fun and creativity on display was wonderful and the new elements just kept coming!
I personally loved my time with Gori: Cuddly Carnage and cannot wait to see more of it. The game will eventually be coming out on Steam for the PC, so keep an eye out! This is definitely one to experience.