Continuing on from the success of the studios previous titles, the ‘Tales From Space’ series, Drinkbox Studios released a brand new IP in April entitled: Guacamelee. After being released to critical acclaim, this smash-hit has now reached the PC platform four months after its original PSN release in the form of ‘Guacamelee! Gold’. Offering a few extras not found in its original release, boasting a lot of stylistic charm, and a great mix of action and platforming gameplay, this game is certainly a memorable and fun experience that gamers will want to play over and over again.
Based heavily on Mexican culture and folklore, Guacamelee follows the story of Juan, a young man who becomes a powerful Luchadore in order to save the world from the evil and maniacal Carlos Calaca, as he attempts to bring the dead into the land of the living. The story here is very simple, but packed full of humour and pop-culture references which will make any gamer crack a smile. While lacking in any depth, it is a crazy story full of memorable characters, and it is these which stop the story from being a throw-away experience. Characters are original, imaginative, and offer vibrant personalities making the story a joy to play from start to finish as the player fights and navigates their way through a variety of unique and creative locales.
Guacamelee’s gameplay offering is (like its story) rather simple, offering enough depth to be fun, but nothing that complicated. This however isn’t detriment to the game, making the game more focussed, and allowing creative use of the players set amount of abilities. Fighting consists of a basic attack button of which offers different types of attacks dependant on player movement/direction, a grab button which allows players to throw enemies and pull off grapple moves, a dodge roll, and a set of special moves that are unlocked throughout the games 8-9 hour length. While this all might sound very ‘barebones’, it actually offers a lot fighting potential and opens up the ability to rack up high combo’s and lots of enemy juggling. As you progress through the story, more enemies are revealed, as are different ways to defeat them, providing ever changing fighting conditions. The constant development of the fighting scenarios does make up for any complaints made towards the simple combat system. While the fighting may start to feel repetitive towards the end of the game, it never becomes boring and fighting tonnes of varying enemies is a blast!
When you aren’t spending your time fighting lots of enemies, you will spend your time platforming through the games many areas. While platforming sections do start of as a bit of a bore, as you progress and gain more abilities the level design becomes much more interesting, and areas start to become navigational puzzles that require a lot of fast thinking and clever use of abilities. Things change up considerably when the player is able to dimension jump between the land of the living and the land of the dead, offering added challenge to the levels and adjusting level layouts. These platforming sections feel very much like Super Meat Boy in that they have to be logically thought out and mastered. Prepare for frequent failure before nailing these sections, however they are fun to tackle and very rewarding when completed. The fighting is always at the forefront of this game, but these platforming sections never detract from the overall experience, due in part to the clever integration of the player special moves which can be used to navigate the levels.
Levels in this game are not linear, allowing lots of places to explore, and items to collect. Health and Stamina pickups can be found which increase their corresponding attributes, and money can be collected, of which is used to purchase new attacks, upgrade your character, and even buy new Luchadore outfits. While wearing different outfits is not essential to completing the game, they do offer different play styles and are a game changer. They all have positives and negatives to using them, and they serve largely to include more challenge for the player. Speaking of challenge, there are instances in this game where you can attempt to complete a series of platforming puzzles, and fighting arenas. Exclusive to Guacamelee Gold is the El Infierno level, which offers lots of difficult challenge rooms for the player to get stuck into, adding even more extra activities. Completing such tasks earns you items, and are a fun diversion to take on, should you want a break away from the story. A second player is also welcome to join in on all the fun, offering some great co-op action, allowing two characters to fight their way through the games story. For an arcade game like this, the co-op is a nice touch and adds extra fun for those who want to play with a partner.
Perhaps one of the most visually stunning 2D games around, Guacamelee is as stunning to look at as it is to play. Drinkbox Studios has always been known for employing great art styles into their games, and this latest game reinforces this tradition. Offering vibrant colours, beautiful backdrops and great character design, the game is a treat for the eyes. The Mexican setting and inspiration shines through too, adding even more charm, especially with the Day Of The Dead influences that the game bases itself around. Character animation is also very smooth lending further to the overall polished product. Other bits and pieces like the sound effects and music add even more to the games character, and enforce its Mexican setting.
While Guacamelee! Gold offers little more than its original release, it is a fantastic indie title that any gamer who has yet to play this will love. Though its gameplay may appear simple, there is a solid challenge throughout and a great charm that keeps the player interested. Everything on offer is done to such a high standard that is near impossible to find any flaws. If you are after a fun and memorable game, I can’t recommend this game highly enough. It is a joy to play from start to finish, and despite having a short length, there is enough replay value and content for this game to be well worth its low price tag.
- Great charm
- Beautiful graphics
- Fun gameplay that never gets dull
- Plenty of variety
- Memorable characters
- Lots of replay value
- Short length – 8 hours
- Little extra content has been added
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.