Mincing rabid unicorns as a hoverboard-skating cat is the most fun I had at Gamescom this week

Gori: Cuddly Carnage
(Image credit: Wired)

Picture the adorable ginger cat from Stray as a huge Tony Hawk fan, and you'll be halfway to Gori: Cuddly Carnage. Developer Angry Demon is branching out from its horror-centric roots for something a little more colorful, playful, and fifty times gorier in this self-proclaimed "skate 'n' slash" adventure through a futuristic, neon-lit dystopia.

First thing's first: customization. I decked out my badass kitty in full, from its fur to its outfits and his accompanying hoverboard alike, before skating around and performing neat little tricks to dispatch my Scary-corn enemies. It is so much bloody fun that I felt ready to crown it the best game at Gamescom 2023 after just a few minutes.

Cat got your tongue

Gori: Cuddly Carnage

(Image credit: Wired)
Gamescom 2023


(Image credit: Gamescom)

GamesRadar+ is on the ground in Cologne, Germany to play the most anticipated new games of 2023 and beyond. For more hands-on previews, interviews, news, and features, be sure to visit the Gamescom 2023 coverage hub for all of our exclusive access and reporting.  

I can't stop smiling while playing Gori: Cuddly Carnage. Not because I'm a horrible person who hates unicorns, but because the combination of gratuitous gore, sparkles, rainbows, and a wide-eyed kitty is such a wonderfully deranged concept that I can't help but be totally enamored with it from the jump. It's weird, it's wonderful, and it doesn't feel bad about any of it.

Angry Demon's sound designer William Sahl joins me as I set out around Gori's psychedelic cityscape, hoverboard in paw. I perform kickflips and ollies, experimenting with the various controls as Sahl explains the studio's rationale behind creating it. "Have you ever gotten together with your buddies and thrown out those 'what if' ideas? This is very much that," he says. Personally, I can't say I've ever pictured a cat slicing and dicing up evil unicorns up like sashimi, but I'm very glad that Angry Demon did. 

I quickly learn that the aim of the game is to skate around, solve puzzles, and absolutely decimate the hordes of Scary-corns in my path. How do I do that, exactly? By carving 'em up with Frank, my wisecracking hoverboard companion. Much as in Stray, the cat in Gori: Cuddly Carnage doesn't speak. He's also not a real cat.

Gori is actually a toy, as is Frank himself. Their toymaker company Kool Toyz has gone rogue, with some newer creations becoming infected by a zombie-like disease that turns cute and cuddly unicorn dolls into rabid Scary-corns. With green froth bubbling at their muzzles and the flesh ripping away from bone, these once sweet children's toys are now anything but — and it's up to me to stop them.

I use a blender-like spinning blade attack to turn larger foes into mincemeat, ramming right into smaller ones before using Frank to slap, slice, and generally mash them up real good. There's also plenty of platforming elements, and if you've read my Ghostrunner 2 preview, you'll know how undeniably bad I am at those.

Gori: Cuddly Carnage

(Image credit: Wired)

"I use a blender-like spinning blade attack to turn larger foes into mincemeat, ramming right into smaller ones before using Frank to slap, slice, and generally mash them up real good."

Once I get far enough into the demo, a whole new beast rears its toothy snout. Shooty-corns are exactly what you think they must be: unicorns that shoot you. Specifically, they have guns built into their two front hoofs that they use to shoot you down from afar. Having cleared the main chamber of most enemies, Sahl gives me a hot tip: Gori has a gun as well, and he's not afraid to use it. I happily introduce it to the two snarling Shooty-corns and get rewarded with a gnarly slow-mo takedown in the process.

There's a still-beating heart beneath the blood, guts, and rainbow-colored fluff of Gori: Cuddly Carnage. I was almost moved to tears when the game suddenly took an emotional turn, as one pre-mission cutscene showed the lovable little cat getting abandoned by his owner. The 2D visuals feel like stepping into a storybook, or something like the comic strips I might have read eagerly when I was little. It shows Gori is about more than killing unicorns and doing cool skateboard tricks, and though that is a rather large chunk of the experience, this gem of an indie is not just one for the horror fiends.

Love games that stray from the beaten path? You'll love our list of the best new indie games.  

Jasmine Gould-Wilson
Staff Writer, GamesRadar+

Jasmine is a staff writer at GamesRadar+. Raised in Hong Kong and having graduated with an English Literature degree from Queen Mary, University of London in 2017, her passion for entertainment writing has taken her from reviewing underground concerts to blogging about the intersection between horror movies and browser games. Having made the career jump from TV broadcast operations to video games journalism during the pandemic, she cut her teeth as a freelance writer with TheGamer, Gamezo, and Tech Radar Gaming before accepting a full-time role here at GamesRadar. Whether Jasmine is researching the latest in gaming litigation for a news piece, writing how-to guides for The Sims 4, or extolling the necessity of a Resident Evil: CODE Veronica remake, you'll probably find her listening to metalcore at the same time.