It’s time for Día de los Muertos – the memorial day of the dead! And for that we’re playing as the agave farmer, Juan Aguacate, who’s helping with the preparations in his village only to find his childhood friend, Lupita, be kidnapped by the undead villain Carlos Calaca to be sacrificed in a ritual to unify the world of the Living and the Dead and rule over them all! In our attempt to save Lupita, we are killed by Carlos only to find ourselves with the mask of the famous Luchador himself and some epic superpowers! Strap on for a review of Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition!
Guacamelee! Super Turbo Champion Edition (Trailer/Shop) is a Metroidvania-Action-game by Drinkbox Studios that is combining a colourful art style with 2D-Sidescrolling-Action, a lot of humour and tons of fighting!
Developer: Drinkbox Studios
Publisher: Drinkbox Studios
Genres: Action, Metroidvania, 2D, Platformer, Beat 'Em Up
Release Date: April 9, 2013
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC, Playstation Vita, Playstation 3 & 4, Xbox 360 & One, Nintendo Switch & WiiU, Linux
Copy received for free during a giveaway
It’s using classic elements of the Metroidvania like wide branched out maps, paths that can only be accessed using certain abilities, and a lot of exploring! To proceed we’ve got to fight our way through waves of enemies in arena-levels while solving Jump-‘N-Run-areas in some of the wider levels and overall follow along in this rather linear story.
The story itself consists of going through different “temples”, fighting against Carlos’ generals and getting stronger to ultimately face Carlos himself and unlock one of two endings.
The fighting makes use of a wide range of attacks, throws, kicks and special attacks that also help you to get rid of previously encountered roadblocks. It feels rather fluid and you can chain almost all attacks to one another and unleash incredible combos on your unknowing foes! Truly fun!
And yet, the game itself is rather lacking in terms of difficulty. In my first playthrough of the game, I didn’t have any difficulties with the enemies at all.
There are a few different types of enemies that come in different colours, giving them different properties and making you fight each in a different style but most of the time you’re able to send all of them flying with a few simple button-presses. Some enemies are more annoying than others, for sure, and there are times where you need to shift between the world of the Dead and the world of the Living to fight them while also dodging the attacks of the enemies in the other world but it seemed rather lacklustre when it came to difficulty which was quite a letdown.
At some point during the final levels, you encounter two new enemies, though, that can give you quite a hard time. At first, you face them as mini-bosses but then you encounter them on the next few levels as well, which is a lot more challenging. The sudden rise in difficulty rose my total deaths to a two-digit number (not factoring in the final boss fight), but I would have loved to see a more consistent rise in difficulty as you might see in other games.
On top of just brawling your way through enemies, you can also find collectables in some interesting side-quests and puzzles, or upgrade your abilities and health/resource bars. But adding more damage and survivability to your character could be a reason for why the game felt so easy in the first games. On top of that, there’re way too many checkpoints in the early levels, even in areas where you can’t possibly die. Meanwhile, in later levels you’ve got to do Jump ‘N Run passages in dangerous spots with checkpoints that are far away, making a sudden misstep even more frustrating.
A great of making your way harder, however, is to buy costumes.
Costumes provide you with special perks that most often come with negative debuffs! For instance, there’s one that grants you “massive damage” but you also receive “massive damage”. My favourite one, though, was the El Diablo costume that grants you enhanced attacks and lifesteal but decreases your maximum health by a hefty amount!
But setting the difficulty aside, it was rather fun. There’s a lot of humour and even when you’re just smashing buttons and chaining attack after attack, you can have quite a fun time with this game. The game is mocking itself constantly, working with Mexican stereotypes and referencing other games while also adding running jokes into the mix that made me chuckle quite a bit here and there.
There’re collectable Choozo Statues (a direct reference to Metroid‘s Chozo Statues), for instance, or posters in some cities featuring Luchadors of all sorts from all kinds of different games! Next to “Los Casa Crashers” (Castle Crashers), “La Mascara” (The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask), and “Mega Hombre” (Mega Man), you can find a lot more references in the game, which is most often a true delight!
The aforementioned art style is capturing that Mexican vibe quite well!
There are a lot of bright and vibrant colours involved while you’re in the world of the Living – while you see a rather dark and enigmatic colour palette in the world of the Dead. This mix of colours is quite pretty and caught my eye when I first stumbled across screenshots of this game. The music is rather fitting for the whole aesthetic and the overall Mecixan feel but it didn’t stick to my ear all that much. It’s not a soundtrack that I would recognize in a playlist or something like that, which is a bummer of sorts, I guess.
To conclude, I’d say that Guacamelee! is a delight to play. It’s a lot of fun and while it is rather short with its estimated ten hours of gameplay, there are a lot of sidequests and backtracking that one can do. There’s also the devil’s challenges that one may want to finish, on top of the Hard Mode which did a lot right for me. I guess that using the Hard Mode the game’s worth the recommendation, however, I’d recommend using the Super Turbo Championship Edition as well as it adds a lot to the game in terms of costumes, powers, puzzles and Hell, itself.
So, while I do recommend this game, I’d still say that it might not be something for everyone. Those that want a bigger challenge might not be satisfied with the main game but might have more fun with the Hordes-mode/Arena. I guess, the game is worth its money but, when in doubt, one can always wait for a sale on steam, right?
Hasta luego! (I hope I used that right..)
I’m taking part in this year’s #IntPiPoMo. If you’d like to participate or get to know the other participants, feel free to check this post out!
Note: I put this little IntPiPoMo-section down at the bottom of this review after having already posted it, as I signed up for it after the day I posted it. Doesn’t make too much of a difference, though.