Although I do love video games and enjoy playing them, platformers are usually not my calling. In fact, the pure platformer I can remember playing was Limbo, which I bought the day it came out and mostly because the atmosphere was so rich I felt I could just scoop it up and eat it all day and night, which I did, beat it in a day… Anyway, Guacamelee! is a game from Drinkbox Studios and follows the story of a large Mexican man named Juan. The Mexican theme of this game is central to the game, because not only do they use an awesome art style that replicate a Mexican feel, but one of the coolest mechanics in the game, which allows you to switch from one dimension to the next, is a part of ancient Mexican lore involving the holiday Day of the Dead. The music, which is fantastic by the way, also follows the Mexican theme by invigorating classic Mexican mariachi with modern music styles that feels right at home in this game. An added bonus is when you change dimensions the music doesn’t change songs, but merely changes the style of the song played, it’s this and other little things that set Guacamelee! apart, and show the level of detail the developers put into this game. There are many other little details that put big ole’ fat grin on my face by adding various tributes to other games like Castle Crashers, “Los Casa Crashers”, and Journey.
The general gameplay involves platforming as well as fighting and does a good job of combining these two to make an awesome experience. It’s as if Super Smash Bros. decided to make sweet sweet love to a (insert a friggin amazing platforming game here) and came out with this gameplay. I say this because the fighting is a true delight, and the combination of having to really think about how you defeat the various flying, rolling, and attacking enemies, and having a vas assortment of abilities to defeat them breathes life into the gameplay. There were numerous times where I had to take time and figure out what the hell I was supposed to do to defeat the enemy, which is a good thing, I like to think! Although, by the end I found myself being complacent because of the wide array of abilities that I could use and would abuse only one of the abilities that seemed more OP than the others.
WhatI really liked was that the fighting abilities were also vital part to platforming as well, and probably the two hardest portions of the game only involve platforming and these sections took me hours to beat. Although, I wouldn’t let the extra time stop you from trying because the satisfaction of beating these sections makes you really accomplished something, as you sit playing a video game…alone…with only mountains of junk food surrounding you to keep you company…
As for the progression of the game you follow the story of Juan trying to defeat Calacta, an evil skeleton from the undead world, and in each new section of the story rewards a new ability. What’s great is that there are no frivolous abilities, you need every one of them and most of them get used about the same amount whether you using them for platforming or fighting or fighting while platforming. As for the story, it’s not very complicated, you’re always trying to defeat Calacta, and plays out very similarly to a Mario story with Bowser, which could be a good or bad thing, I personally enjoyed it. There also isn’t that much frivolous content, aside from the main story there was a few side quests and collectables, but both of these were fun and challenging to do, because the gameplay and humorous aspect of the game makes them very fun. The humor in itself was a treat because it served as a healthy reminder, for me, that “Hey, you’re playing a game this should be fun!” Whether it’s some of the funny characters, or many play on words in the game, it’s nice to have a catharsis of laughter after some of the very challenging, sometimes frustrating, parts of the game.
As you can see I don’t have much bad to say about this game, and the only issues I had while playing was that it did become frustrating at times for me, and that the replay value might be a little lacking, but they do provide a “new game plus” mode for when you beat the game the first time (I also hear new DLC is coming soon). Other than that, I found this game truly awesome. From the fun gameplay and platforming to the humor infused in the game, Guacamelee! succeeds in giving an experience that can be fun for both casual and hardcore gamers. I recommend this game as a must play for anyone that likes platformers, and an awesome game to introduce the genre for someone interested in trying it for the first time. If your interested in purchasing this, and supporting yet another awesome indie developer it’s $15 on the Playstation Network.
Thanks for reading and hope it was helpful!