Gori: Cuddly Carnage is shaping up to be a wonderful addition to the character action genre | Hands-on preview

by on July 3, 2024

Since the popularity of From Software’s Souls games and their more modern evolutions, the humble character action genre has been pretty much absent from video games. The people spoke, and clearly preferred the more deliberate pace of Soulslike combat, and fast, flashy combos became less prominent in the action genre. Well, I miss juggling enemies with over the top sword slashes and aiming for high scores by mastering wild combinations of button presses, and thankfully Gori: Cuddly Carnage was made for everyone in the same boat.

For this preview I was able to play the first three levels of Gori: Cuddly Carnage, each lasting around thirty minutes and packed full of ridiculous combat arenas. The hero of the game Gori is an adorable kitty, and after sentient toys took over the world and kidnapped his beloved owner, he’s out for revenge. Armed with a robot hoverboard with a bad attitude, Gori’s quest to create a super weapon that kills all the fluffy bad guys is a rather silly one packed with gore and goofs – which is honestly pretty refreshing.

Gori: Cuddly Carnage

What makes Gori: Cuddly Carnage stand out from those classic character action games of old is the aforementioned hoverboard, which makes getting around a blast. Moving between enemies in combat takes no time at all because of your rad ride, but it’s also used in between battles to get around the rather massive stages. There are rails for grinding, neon signs to wallride up, and with an air bash and boost at your disposal too, you’re able to make your way past any hazards with ease.

Your hoverboard is also your main weapon in combat, although in the opening minutes of the game the functionality is somewhat lacking. With only a light attack to slice through evil unicorns I was worried the depth of Gori: Cuddly Carnage might not be there, but the addition of a heavy attack opens up a load more combat options. In the first few levels the new moves and upgrades come thick and fast, like the addition of powerful special attacks.

Gori: Cuddly Carnage

Special attacks will help you take down all sorts of foes standing in your way in a flash, but they require energy to use. This is where Gori really starts to sing, because to get that energy to use your best moves you need to grind and wallride to charge up your board on electric currents. This means big battles will often involve serving up huge attacks and wild combos for a few minutes, and then suddenly you’ll have to shift to performing some awesome grinds and wallrides.

Once you get even more abilities, there becomes even more exciting elements to juggle in Gori: Cuddly Carnage. You get an explosive projectile to fire that is useful against flying enemies, which slowly refills ammo or can be reloaded instantly by picking up a shiny rocket that most arenas have in them. There’s also a shield that blocks incoming damage, which can also be used to shred enemies by boosting through them when activated. The variety in gameplay in the first couple of hours of this character action game is really impressive, and if it carries this on further into the game it could be something special.

Gori: Cuddly Carnage

Variety isn’t just present in your combat abilities either, it’s in all the gameplay. Stages have chase sequences where you’ll need your best boarding skills to survive. There are varied environments ranging from inside arcade machines to radioactive factories, and loads of different enemies and bosses. There’s simply no opportunity to get bored while slicing up toys and traveling through space, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Gori: Cuddly Carnage is shaping up to be a wonderful addition to the oft ignored character action genre, with frantic combat made all the faster paced thanks to your trusty hoverboard. The variety of offensive options, enemy types, and environments in the first few stages really impressed me, and as long as this continues I’m certain I’ll love Gori’s full adventure when it releases in August.

Gori: Cuddly Carnage is coming to PC via Steam, Xbox One, Xbox Series S|X, PS4, PlayStation 5, and Nintendo Switch on August 29th.