Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10 and up)
Developer: DrinkBox Studios
Console: Available now for the Playstation 3, PS Vita
Description:Guacamelee! is an action-packed, 2-D platformer set between the worlds of the living and the dead. Inspired by Mexican folklore, players take control of a down-on-his luck wrestler named Juan Aguacate, as he fights through hordes of undead enemies and skeleton henchmen to stop the evil Carlos Calaca from gaining ultimate power by sacrificing the beautiful “El Presidente’s Daughter.”
It is not often that a video game comes around, seemingly out of nowhere, that provides enough style and substance that leaves you with just the right amount of satisfaction. Upon completion you dive right back into that game, not because you want more of it, but because you want to get the entire experience. In other words, Guacamelee! is so good, you’re going to want to lick the bowl clean, let out a special burp of joy and tell all your friends about it.
Guacamelee! is the latest game to come out of DrinkBox Studios (Tales From Space) in Toronto. They’ve been showing the Playstation Network some love over the years, and thanks to Sony’s Pub Fund, they’ve done it again.
In this “Metroidvania” style game, you play as Juan, an agave farmer, who has to save El-Presidente’s Daughter from the evil Carlos Calaca. Shortly after Calaca makes quick work of Juan, he dons a magical luchador mask that gives him great powers. Juan then must learn secret goat techniques and train with El Pollo to defeat Calaca’s men and save El Presidente’s Daughter.
One of Guacamelee!’s strengths is its immense amount of charm. This game has charm coming out of everywhere. Whether its the characters, the settings, or even the posters on the walls in town, there’s plenty to like. For the internet kids out there, Guacamelee has Mexican themed references everywhere. Just look at the etchings in the temple. Is that a Space Invader? Check out the poster on the wall. Is that Grumpy Cat, Link, Bane, and Alex Kidd? Yes, yes, yes, and yes! This game is stuffed with little things that, if you’re not paying attention, you can miss easily. Also, Chozo Statues.
As stated earlier, Guacamelee! is a Metroidvania style game. That’s mostly true. When you’re in a special area (e.g. the forest, temple, tower, etc) the map will represent one similar to those games. It will reveal itself as you go on, but also show you the locked out areas you can access later. What makes Guacamelee!’s map stand out, is its ease of use. If you know you can’t break down this wall or stomp out that section of ground, it will appear on your map in the corresponding color. So when you finally get that new ability, you’ll know exactly where to go to use it. But that doesn’t get in the way of fun. Sometimes, you’ll know there’s something there, but the platforming will require some skill to access it. And let’s face it, the least fun part about the other Metroidvania games is walking around, attacking every single square inch of the castle to see if you missed a spot.
Guacamelee!’s combat is a lot of fun. Every new ability you gain is also a new attack, your jump boost is an uppercut, your ground stomp is a slam, and your super punch move… is a punch. Not only will you be able to scale the map, but with each new move you can do bigger and better combos. As you progress through the game, Guacamelee!’s fighting system reveals itself to be as in depth as it is creative.
Guacamelee! is a $15 game. It’s cheap and it’s worth every penny. No, it’s worth more than that. Guacamelee! is a cross-buy cross-play title meaning when you buy the game, you will be able to play it on both the Vita and the Playstation 3. But wait, there’s more! You can play co-op as well. Just have a second player jump in and they’ll play as Tostada, the mysterious female figure that helps you in your quest.
Guacamelee! is as long as it needs to be. This game is not over-stuffed, nor does it have pacing issues. Once you beat the game, you can try to get a 100% completion rating, but that will take a lot of skill. If you have either a PS3 or a Vita, I strongly urge you to pick up Guacamelee! A+