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Guacamelee Gold Edition Review

GuacameleeDrinkbox Studios, renowned for their Tales from Space series I was quite impressed with their Mutant Blobs Attack on PC. I sort of missed the console/handheld game of Guacamelee. However, hope was not lost as Drinkbox decided to port the game over to Steam as Guacamelee Gold Edition riddled with achievements and trading cards. I finally got a chance to see what the entire hubbub was about. The final result was me procrastinating on this review because I was too busy kicking butt as a luchador.

Juan is thrown into a conflict to save a damsel in distress. By acquiring the powers of the luchador Juan can save a young woman from the clutches of evil. Not all is how it seems. The world is filled with evil and magic, to adapt to the ever changing environment, Juan must adopt the magical powers of the luchador. With hordes of enemies blocking his path, the only way to win, is to punch it in the face.

While the story of Guacamelee is not the most unique out there, it does use a nice archetype to build its foundation. The story is a knight in shining armor (or mask in this case) must save the damsel build and it is classy albeit the common “adult” themed jokes here and there. The jokes can be rather hilarious because they seem to come out of nowhere. A lot of them are the interactions between the different bosses often ignoring Juan who is standing in the same room.

I was very surprised by this game. It takes a very classic formula (ala Metroid) in terms of 2D free-roaming. The combat focus is wonderfully done with easy to learn, hard to master combos. The game has such a good balance between combat and platforming.

Your combat consists of only melee attacks, with the clever use of jumps and dodges you will close the gap between enemies who will obviously have stuff to throw at you. It brings a level of skill and charm to the combat and feeling of being a luchador. When you hit an enemy enough times you will have the ability to grapple and throw them away. Upon purchasing select upgrades you can use a variety of wrestling moves like the suplex to change up your combos or even chain more together. As you progress through the game you will acquire “B” moves. These moves are integrated with the platforming. They allow you to uppercut, body slam, headbutt, and dash attack. They directly affect the way you move. Using these will maximize your combo and damage output as well as get you to new heights.

ss_4bc28441486c27a23e82940a31a58a329530d25f.1920x1080This is why the combat of Guacamelee is so good. It fully utilizes the variety of attacks with the mobility of hand to hand combat in every form possible. You can learn more combos from a chicken in town, or make up your own. The flexibility is astonishingly great and balanced and by far one of the best I have come across. Much view the combat invented with Batman Arkham Asylum/Arkham City was the pinnacle of hand to hand fighting, Guacamelee is a heavy contender for this title. I found almost no flaw in the combat of this game.

The platforming can be somewhat unforgiving, but it is still heavily skill based. Your moves will be an integrated part in how you traverse the terrain. Wall jumping, wall running, dimension switching mid jump, you will most likely do all of these on the drop of a pin in no second flat. The more you play the game, and the more you try to do the platforming puzzles, the better you get. It is an example of great game development when you are able to not only tell the player how to perform the moves, but be able to guide them through the puzzles by level design alone. The game doesn’t hold your hand; it simply lets you figure it out with a basic structure to stand on.

Great game development aside in terms of combat and platforming, the art style is wonderfully fresh and unique. It enhances the atmosphere of the game in such a way you cannot imagine this game looking any different. The music is also brilliantly composed. The theme is obviously Mexican and it shows heavily in the music if the art direction didn’t already give it away. If the soundtrack was sold separately, I would throw my money at it so fast; in fact it would be faster than Goldman-Sachs during election year.

The game’s keyboard controls do not feel right so playing with a controller is the only way to play this game. Guacamelee also supports user generated content with Steam Workshop. If you have a PC, PS3, or Vita and don’t own Guacamelee, get it on Steam, it is by far the best way to play. Guacamelee is a game you wouldn’t expect to break the boundaries with its simple execution but it destroys the competition and this game is by far one of the best I have played this year. I just could not find anything wrong with this game. Guacamelee has earned the score of 10/10.

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