The game that packs a saucy punch.
Some say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. This is most certainly the case for video games with Nintendo effectively writing the rulebook for innovative titles. Drinkbox studios convey lots of fondness in there Mexican themed platformer for the early breakthrough days of Nintendo and package it into a humorous and cheeky game that also spans multiple genres.
Guacamelee is effectively a 2D beat em up, platform game with puzzle elements, in a maze like environment. This is Guacamelee’s greatest strength in making all these gameplay elements mix together to create a wholesome experience that is familiar yet fresh, much like the taste of guacamole itself.
The game is effectively a love letter to the old Nintendo classics. Avid fans will pick up some of the subtle background references while others are more apparent. If you have played any game from the Metroid franchise Guacamelee will seem very familiar to you. Seeing that Nintendo haven’t released a Metroid game for a while, Guacamelee is the next best thing.
Players take up the role of Juan a plain and ordinary Mugabe farmer who from an unusual turn of events becomes a Luchador. With no voice acting, Guacamelee relies on character models to define their personas. Juan’s body language is slouched with a miserable expression on his face but from his radical and quite ludicrous transformation, becomes a strong confidant protagonist. The villain of game, an evil skeleton man named Carlos Calaca also has a hilariously tragic backstory.
The art style takes Mexican culture’s vibrancy and turns it into a fun visual aesthetic which is very reminiscent of a 90’s Saturday morning cartoon. It is clear that Guacamelee is fuelled by nostalgia through both its gameplay and visuals. Guacamelee is also respectful to Mexican folklore and is never ridiculed to the point of insult.
Guacamelee is however very much one of those ‘where the hell do I go kind of games’ which isn’t everyone’s cup of tea because of the amount of patience needed in navigating through the multiple paths. This non-linear structure is both a blessing and a curse, providing the player a plethora of options of where to go while being hard to know for certain which path is needed to progress. This may try certain players patience.
What makes Guacamelee carve it’s own space from the Nintendo classics it pays homage to, is the Luchador themed combat. Pulling off attacks doesn’t require perplexing button inputs and is immensely rewarding performing grapples and throws. Additional special moves are progressively taught to you as you play through Gucamelee, allowing a variety of moves to be mastered.
Later on in the game, Guacamelee provides some interesting platforming sections that require flipping between parallel worlds to advance through the level. It all gets quite mind-boggling but the ingenuity in the game design can be admired at its most here.
Guacamelee is a joyous mash em up full of upbeat adventure. It’s controls have a lot of depth but are easily accessible. Deciphering where to go and what to do is an additional challenge that may hinder the experience for some but overall it’s a great game kids and their parents can play together with Guacamelee providing a co-operative mode. Checking out this kooky 2D sidescroller is a must for those longing for little bit of retro in there modern day gaming library.
Guacamelee: Super Turbo Championship Edition is available now for download on Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Playstation Vita, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One for £11:99
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