Guacamelee! Gold Edition Review. OLE!

Developer/Publisher: Drinkbox Studios
Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, PC (Steam)
Players: 1-2 (Local Co-Op)
Genre: 2D Platformer, Beat 'em Up

It's not every day that a game comes around and completely breaks the mold of a genre. Then again, it's not every day that a game comes around with such a unique style and sound, and can completely make a person fall in love with it as if it were the person... <Clears throat> luchador of their dreams. 

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Guacamelee is a true work of art. The first thing that anybody will notice is its distinct look. A look based upon traditional Mexican aesthetic. Every single background and character looks like something directly ripped from a painting in a Mexican art museum. Colors are bright and eye-grabbing, all while every action made is accompanied by upbeat mariachi music. 

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Sure, Guacamelee is appealing to the senses, but what is this game about?  Well, as the game starts, the player starts out as a simple farm boy named Juan. Juan is just like any other man. He lives a normal life in his normal house, and occasionally does some seemingly normal tasks for his fellow townsfolk. But one day Juan finds himself in the palace to save the princess from an undead kidnapper, and Juan faces his untimely death. 

Don't worry, Juan's story doesn't just end right there, Soon enough, as our protagonist is in the dead world, Juan comes across somebody willing to give him a luchador mask that will allow him to go back to the world of the living as long as he wears the mask. Soon enough, Juan is back on the trail of the assailant, and Guacamelee's story unfolds in glorious fashion. 

As many may know by this point, Guacamelee is a metroidvania-style game. All action takes place in a defined area, while some areas can only be accessed after gaining new abilities from Chozo statues ripped straight from Metroid. After every statue is broken a transforming goat teaches the player a new skill. This is another area where Guacamelee shines. Most of the game's NPCs are very memorable, and will leave the player begging for more dialogue just to see what could possibly be said next to add to the vibe of the world. 

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To add to the wonderful world of Guacamelee, enemies are plentiful, and will be encountered frequently times. This is obviously where the combat system comes into play. Just like most big men in games, Juan can pummel his foes into the sand, or he can make use of his seemingly effortless throwing moves after an enemy hits a "stunned state".   Within this state, Juan can simple toss his opponents into walls, or each other. Similarly, he can also be upgraded to do special throws like a suplex or piledriver. The combat is simple and extremely rewarding.  But don't become too comfortable with the way combat starts out, as it will become more difficult as Juan progresses through his journey to save his true love. 

So, a luchador has gushed about another luchador, but what is wrong with Guacamelee? This is the issue. Guacamelee is seemingly flawless. The sound is great, the challenge increases at a steady rate, the dialogue is hilarious and well-written, and Juan stays lovable without ever making the player feel stupid for liking him.   When it comes down to it, there was only one issue run into, and it was as simple as a character getting stuck during a dialogue section. Nothing major, just a simple reload.

Finishing Move: 

Guacamelee is a gem in a pile of unpolished treasure. It never gets old or made me feel stupid one time. Simply put, while there is no such thing as the perfect game, Guacamelee makes a damn good case as to how a game can be almost perfect.  Add in the Steam Workshop and you have a game with infinite amounts of fun to be had. 

 

Guacamelee! Gold Edition gets 5/5 lucha masks

Guacamelee! Gold Edition gets 5/5 lucha masks