Decarnation is a story rich adventure horror game. Solve cryptic puzzles, fight disturbing enemies, explore a phantasmagorical world of dreams and nightmares, and face the most terrifying monsters from the darkest parts of your soul.
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Had high hopes for this one, but Decarnation turned out to be a lengthy, preachy and uninspired drag. After a promising first act, the rest of the game leaves a lot to be desired. You would think–now limited to one room–the game would dial up its artistic merit, but other than a statue that spins 360° nothing will ever match the detailed and visceral body horror you have witnessed hours ago. The introduced dream world is barren; made out of ruins, broken statues, tentacles (?) and people with towels wrapped around their heads, it’s a pathetic attempt to visualise her deteriorating mental state. The set pieces as well as the ‘other selves’ she meets through this journey are nothing but flat, superficial caricatures of the themes the game is trying to dig in.
Minigames continue to be simple and mundane, but do not add to the monotony of her daily life or drive the point home that she was kidnapped and is being caged like an animal. It feels like the developers felt forced to include them for the sake of it being a game – the same can be said about the bare bones puzzles littered here and there, which once again carry only surface-level meaning to them, if even that. The little scene of her dancing until her face falls off in act 1 is truly carrying all the weight of what Decarnation wants to be.
Confused and anticlimactic, the game ends with a Dreamworks dance party that throws any serious messaging of Gloria’s harrowing experience into the mud. I was happy to uninstall this one.
For the price, length and narrative I personally find criticisms of Decarnation being gameplay light incredibly odd. It strikes all the right notes of a horror puzzle game and that's all it needs. If you need something emotionally driving that you can simultaneously relax and experience anxiety through I can't recommend Decarnation enough.