Guacamelee! (Available on PlayStation 3, and PlayStation Vita)
ESRB Rating: E10+
Number of Players: 1 on Vita, 1 to 2 on PS3.
Publisher: Drinkbox Studios
Developer: Drinkbox Studios
Release Date: April 9th, 2013
Guacamelee! is the latest title from Drinkbox studios, the guys responsible for the incredible Tales from Space: Mutant Blob Attacks!, which launched alongside the PlayStation Vita. Their follow-up release, Guacamelee!, plays just like Super Metroid, but with its own special flavor. I don’t really need to tell you, but this is one game you can’t afford to miss out on. It doesn’t matter which version you pick up, you need to play this sensational game.
The combat! Throw a fighting game into a Metroidvania-style game and you’ve got yourself a winner! There are so many combos and moves possible it’s sick. They’re such a blast to execute too. You start the game knowing only your basics kicks and punches, but quickly start earning new moves. While Samus Aran typically receives upgrades to her suit, Juan here gets to learn uppercuts and pile drivers. With these, you can also reach new areas previously blocked by different colored blocks, each representing a different ability. There’s also this giant chicken who teaches you these super long combos a few hours into the game. That’s where you realize that the fighting system is way deeper than you originally thought. You need to use all the moves in your arsenal in you want to survive some of Guacamelee’s hardest bouts. Quite unique to play a game like this without a weapon.
+ Awesome platforming sections made even better thanks to the living/dead world mechanic. By pressing a button, you can make boulders or ledges disappear and reappear while you navigate your way through. While doing so, you also need to worry about double jumping, and using your special abilities to get through. Some of these sections require surgical precision and are some of the most epic jumps I’ve ever taken part of.
+ Story and atmosphere are laugh-out-loud funny. The game references tons of popular pop culture elements from Super Mario Bros. to the original Star Wars trilogy, with some dialogue taken directly from famous films or games. Guacamelee! doesn’t try to hide from its Metroid style either, even showcasing a few Metroid statues along the way. You gain your powers by knocking down Chozo look-alikes. The Mexican flare also fits the game like a glove.
+ Perfect difficulty. Some of the boss fights, battle sequences, and platforming sections will take all you got to complete, but death doesn’t penalize you. Checkpoints are often, making this game perfect for portable play on the PlayStation Vita.
+Superb cross-play features. Buy the game once, get it on two systems. Start a game on the PS3, finish it later on your Vita at work. Well done.
+Tons of secrets and unlockables to find once the final boss is defeated. Just like Metroid, you can expect to spend hours and hours looking for those last few upgrades.
+ Leaderboards. Some of the posted speed-run times are nothing short of incredible. One would think it would take months or years to achieve ratings this high,but apparently not.
– Short and sweet. Guacamelee took me exactly four hours and fifty-six minutes to complete. I’d assume en extra two hours or so would allow me to find every last secret. Some might feel that a bit short.
Guacamelee may be short, but you’ll be hooked to the screen from start to finish. Time simply flies by when you’re playing this game. Drinkbox studios have quickly become one of my favorite developers out there. This is hands-down one of the best titles of the year. Guacamelee! should be experienced by everyone.
Final Score: 9.5/10