Guacemelee is fun, hilarious and challenging… so why aren’t you playing it? Here’s why you should give this quirky beat ’em up a shot.
“Why aren’t you playing…;” is a new series of reviews looking back at games you might have missed and why you should really be giving them a chance.
Comedy in video games can be something that can be difficult to achieve. Many reviewers had mentioned the refreshing nature of South Park: The Stick of Truth for being a video game that’s actually funny as they hadn’t played a game in recent memory that hit the same high notes whilst also being a great game.
They might have missed Guacamelee, then.
Guacamelee Does Games and Humor Justice
The DrinkBox Studios game sees you play as Juan, a simple farmer who is killed by the evil Carlos Calaca after attempting to save his love interest El Presidente’s Daughter. He is then resurrected by a luchador mask, which also gives him super strength, and is tasked to stop Calaca before he sacrifices El Presidente’s daughter to become the king of the living and the dead.
It’s a very simple story, woven with excellent characters and quirky dialogue. It also has some funny posters that reference popular culture that will give fans a giggle whilst the whole game is dipped in a Mexican colourful twist. A personal favourite was the man-goat character Uay Chivo who has the very best jokes throughout as the grumpy mentor of Juan.
Deliciously Excellent Style, Gameplay, and Controls
It’s presented in a cartoonish, colourful palate that’s very easy on the eye and highlights the vibrancy that the game brings to the table. It’s not just a style thing either, there are moments in gameplay where the colours help indicate how you should deal with opponents and in puzzle sections.
Guacamelee is a 2D platformer beat-em-up that excels in both categories. The more adventure/puzzle side in the platforming is fun, easy to learn and when you get some of the more complicated stuff towards the end it feels incredibly satisfying to pull off.
The combat also shines, with smooth combos, counters and special moves that are all key in dispatching any opponent allows a great variety in your offence. You never have a move that you’ll never use, which can be a hang up for other games, and they continually added new elements that kept the fights fresh – like switching between dimensions and enemy shields only breakable through using certain methods.
What I loved about this game is that whilst not exceptionally hard, it was a challenge that always felt achievable, yet satisfying to complete. The difficulty curve was well-measured, showing the player new things throughout the experience that added to Juan’s repertoire without over encumbering the player with too much to remember.
This added not only to combat but also to the platforming – smashing through certain coloured boxes with certain moves whilst also some allowing the player to jump higher or further. Then the ability to move between worlds added another level, which would add or take away things in the world to help with puzzles and platforming sections.
Where Guacamelee Gets Messy
If there are any little niggles, the boss fight at the very end is a steep difficulty jump at the end but it also made it feel that much better to finish. It can be a little short, with only a few little side missions that aren’t much more than fetch quests but a lot has been added to the game if you buy the new Super Turbo Championship Edition.
It’s a very fun, funny game that deserves the big spotlight that it’s earned with it’s imminent release on the newest generations of consoles next month. It’s also available now on PS3, PS Vita and through Steam.