Guacamelee!

Guacamelee Box Art
7.5 Overall Score
Graphics: 9/10
Story: 7/10
Replay Value: 6/10

Great Art Style | Fun | Comical

Short | Frustrating Combat

Written by on April 22, 2013 in [, , , , , , , , , , ]

Guacamelee Title Image

Well it seems that DrinkBox has done it again and managed to make another highly amusing and sometimes unbelievably frustrating game. Guacamelee! is your typical “underdog turns hero to rescue the love of his life and save the world” story. However, this story does something different by basing the theme around luchador culture. You play as Juan Aguacate, a simple agave farmer who gets killed and sent to the World of the Dead by Carlos Calaca as he is kidnapping your unofficial sweetheart, El Presidente’s Daughter. You are brought back from the dead with a special luchador mask and are now given the task to save your beloved and prevent Carlos and his gang of bad guys from performing a ritual that will merge the living world with the dead world. As you travel encountering new obstacles and enemies you also learn new moves that will help you with both, plus make you want to back track for side quests and collectables you can’t complete until you get further into your move set.

While back tracking is usually a major time suck and can be tedious, Guacamelee! has managed to make it a little more enjoyable with its beautiful, colorful graphics and not-so-hidden references to other games and memes all through the background. It is fun to notice some of the posters and billboards as they show luchador versions of Super Mario Brothers, Majora’s Mask, grumpy cat, Batman vs Bane, and so many more. Not all references are in luchador form; there is one part where the background is a scene from the wonderful game Journey, and sometimes you might see Mega Man in pixel form in the brick.

Gaucamelee Mario Reference

While the basic story won’t be winning any awards for depth, the dialogue between Juan and everyone else can be quite comical. You learn your moves from a goatman and he is an absolute riot, easily one of my favorite characters even though we only see him here and there. Carlos Calaca’s gang has their share of interesting lines too, like when you meet a man called Flame Face (which is accurate since his head is a giant fire ball) and he laughs by saying “Trolololololol!” That was unexpected but too funny not to remember.

It is a good thing that this game is beautiful and funny because when it comes to the combat, this is where Guacamelee! can be a frustrating, rage quit inducing, mess. Around the middle of the game you are given the power to bounce back and forth between the living world and the dead world at will. This is a great power to have that adds a little complexity, makes getting through certain areas fun and uncovers things you wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Then again it can also make you want to punt your dog through the window. Ok, that might be a bit dramatic, but you get the idea. Climbing walls with wall bouncing and needing to switch back and forth mid-jump because each wall is in another dimension, getting so close to the top only to fall all the way back down over and over again might make you reconsider if I’m spot on with the dog and the window. Then that same theory is introduced into combat. Fighting enemies in different dimensions at the same time, along with their shields that may require certain moves or amount of hits to break before you can even damage them makes certain fights feel impossible. One boss fight includes all of that except unlike regular minions, this guy can and will bounce between dimensions, requiring you to constantly do the same. (Pretty sure I almost punted this cat out the window at that point. Wait, I don’t own a cat!)

Guacamelee Living World vs Dead World

If you have been looking for a Metroidvania style game to play then for only $15 Guacamelee! is worth buying, especially since it’s a cross-buy and cross-play game. It will keep you glued to your PlayStation 3 or PlayStation Vita for about seven to eight hours depending on how often you die or how long it takes to collect everything and complete the mini side quests. Even with the frustrating parts, the art style, soundtrack and dialogue make this game too great to pass up.

A code for Guacamelee! was provided to The Married Gamers for review.

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Author: Samantha Olvera View all posts by
Tester at Aperture Labs, vacations in Rapture, and leaps from buildings into haystacks for fun. I love gaming almost as much as I love my two kiddos. I play for fun, but I aim to win.

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