Guacamelee! already had quite a bit of hype to live up to. Mutant Blobs Attack was a great launch title on the Vita but Guacamelee! is a classic 2D platformer for a new age of video games and really lives up to the hype. There a very few 2D platformers that are being made nowadays which is a shame but this most certainly fills that void.
The main villain Carlos Calaca has kidnapped El Presidente’s daughter and you must save her before he tries to merge the living world with the dead world. Your character Juan Aguacate a Mexican wrestler must now save her and stop Carlos Calace from enacting his plan.
All of the villains in the game are inspired from Mexican mythology. The whole game seems to be a celebration of Mexican culture which can often times be quite rare for a video game as they, for the most part, can be quite stereotypical. While I’m not the leading authority on the subject as I’m an Englishmen who has never been to Mexico. I really enjoyed the style of the game and also made me want to learn more about the culture.
Guacamelee! has really tight controls for platforming. Anytime you fail at missing a jump, it never feels like it is the games fault at all. This is the first step in a great, addictive game. Sometimes I might fail some parts of the level multiple times but I keep coming back as I wanted to beat the game.
Not only is Guacamelee! a great 2D platformer but also the game is a beat ‘em up. Your character is able to combo as many moves together as you would like but only if you don’t get hit. The game is more in-depth then the run of the mill beat ‘em up, at least there is more than just consistently mashing the button away. Your character is able to do throws, chain moves together and also quite a few special moves.
There aren’t a lot of enemy types within the game but that doesn’t really matter as the fighting is only part of the game. Also each of the different enemies has a few varieties which mixes things up. Never does the combat in the game get repetitive. Just like the old school games you must learn the fighting patterns of the different enemies and bosses.
Super Metroid is a clear influence for Guacamelee!. A lot of the levels are set up similar structure to the game but just like Metroid there are parts of the game that can’t be passed without a certain ability. During the course of the game you will gain many different abilities from breaking statues which are very similar to a certain other game. These range quite rapidly from a simple uppercut to being able to jump on walls.
One ability that changes up the gameplay quite a bit is being able to change between the living world and the dead world. Some environment pieces will only appear in one of the worlds as well as certain enemies.
While this game is available both on the PS3 and the Vita. I primarily played it on the Vita. When I transferred my save to the PS3 version I just didn’t get on with the controls for it. Mostly due to block and shifting worlds was now on the L2 and R2 which I just found harder to use when wanting to quickly use either ability. There is only time you need to use the touchscreen on the Vita is when you turn to a chicken which is this games version of the Morph Ball from Metroid.
Although Guacamelee is a love letter to the games of yesteryear, it isn’t unforgiving as old games. There isn’t a life system so you can keep playing to your heart’s content plus you never die when jumping off the games world, you are just teleported to the last platform you were on. The game can be challenging at times but due to the measures in place is never a problem as you can just redo it again and again.
Guacamelee! is really pretty no matter what system you’ll be playing on. The game has a bright and vibrate art style. All enemies stand out even in this at style, especially the main villains. The only thing that I can say negative is that the shields some of the enemies have in the later game can be jagged and aren’t as good looking as the rest of the game. The games background contains a lot of game references as well as some other references such as memes but they all fit the style of the game. The game contains a small amount of cutscences which is a bit of a shame as they look great and I assume are there because if it was just the characters explaining the story in text bubbles then it would get boring quick.
The music for the game is quite a bit different from most other games. The Mexican influence can also be heard in the soundtrack of the game. It is a unique soundtrack and suits the mood of the game perfectly. Unfortunately the game does not have any voice acting, which is perfectly fine as you never really miss it and perhaps the wrong voice could detract from the game.
The game has no online multiplayer but has local co-op and people can just jump in at any time during the game. The second player is never addressed in the story of the game except for a few moments during the game. The only time the character appears in the single player story is when you first get your abilities and at the end of the game.
I feel that Guacamelee can hold its head up high with some of the greatest 2D platformers. It can get quite difficult at times but with patience can be beaten and is a joy to come back to.
Publisher: DrinkBox Studios, Developer: DrinkBox Studios
Release Date: US: 9/4/13 EU: 10/4/13
Platforms: PS3 PS Vita Digital: Yes
Price: $14.99/£9.99 Rating: ESRB:10 PEGI:12
Offline Players: Co-op: 2