With an appointment smack-bang in the middle of a particularly packed Gamescom schedule, I nearly wrote Gori: Cuddly Carnage off as a fever dream. You play as a kitten riding some sort of skateboard/sword hybrid, plowing around a rainbow-lit hellscape twirling your board to slice up corrupted unicorns that are changing at you, equal parts bladed limbs and evil intent.
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Still, there’s something oddly compelling about Gori’s combat, which lets you plough through evil unicorns with aplomb, before grinding away across a rail, your hoverboard doing double duty as both transport and weapon as you twirl around the place carving up cuddly toys.
Make no mistake, the setting is largely some compelling window dressing. The real star here is the hoverboard and the way you move around the place.
This mix of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and Devil May Cry is quite engaging, with movement taking on a weird gliding feeling as the hoverboard lazily drifts underfoot. Movement starts by feeling twitchy, oversensitive. After a few of Gori’s intense battles you start to get a feel for it, weaving between fights and using movement and combat tricks interchangeable, a combat lunge getting you between two awkward platforms or a wall run helping you reposition quickly to keep a combo running. When the game clicks, even during the short 20 minutes I had to play it, there’s nothing else like it.
In fact, it reminds me of the golden age of AA PlayStation 2 titles, when a core concept and its execution is just about good enough and fun enough to recommend. Gori nails this – it’s probably not going to be a mainstream hit but for fans of third-person hack and slash games, this is the first ever skate and slash title, and chances are people will dig it.
If I have one real issue it’s that the combat doesn’t quite feel lethal enough. The combo system – pulled full scale from the 7/10 PS2 classics Gori is taking design cues from – keeps fighting fun enough for a few fights, but I’m really curious to see what the combat is like after a few different upgrades to see if that makes things feel a little punchier.
For now though, the game has an easy magnetism to it, largely due to the kineticism that flows throughout the game. If this B-movie schlock and the mix of combat and platforming bears up for a few hours, this could be an enjoyable indie effort when it does launch at some unspecified point in the future. In the meantime, this is a game worth keeping your eye on.
Gori: Cuddly Carnage currently has no release date and is planned to come to PC.