July 29, 2013 by thedavidryan
Juan is a down on his luck Mexican farmer who sets out to save the world when his childhood sweetheart ‘El Presidente’s Daughter’ is kidnapped by an evil charro skeleton named Carlos Calaca. To save the day, Juan must become a powerful luchador superhero, swapping between different dimensions known as “The Living World” and “The Dead World”, in order to defeat Calaca and rescue El Presidente’s Daughter.
For an ‘indie’ game, Guacamelee is downright gorgeous. The environments and character models look stunning on this cross platform download that can be played on either the Playstation 3 console or the handheld Playstation Vita. Guacamelee boasts a rich colour pallet of bright Mexican themed colours that catch the eye from the very start. Juan’s transformation from hard working farmer to super luchador is wonderfully illustrated in just one of the games many charmingly designed cut scenes.
Along with other indie visual delights, such as Journey or The Unfinished Swan, Guacamelee is up there with the most visually pleasing titles available for less than £10 on the Playstation Store. The Mexican themed soundtrack is an additional satisfying touch which really brings the world to life and compliments the on screen appearance effortlessly.
As Guacamelee is an action side scrolling platformer, gameplay is the most vital aspect of the game. Thankfully the team at Drinkbox Studios has developed a gameplay mechanic that is not only intuitive, but also a heck of a lot of fun to play. Juan is tasked with fighting various adversaries throughout the story and the game does a good job of equipping Juan with a skillset that is necessary to make short work of those foes.
Along with the basic kick and punch controls, Juan is able to learn new combo moves, lethal finishers and even purchase unique signature abilities from the games many save point stores. This combat system is unexpectedly deep and all of the finisher moves Juan learns also enables him to explore previously unreachable areas of the map, promoting a crazy amount of exploration and replay-ability long after the story has concluded.
Stringing together huge button bashing combos is one of Guacamelee’s best features and is massively satisfying when executed correctly. As you progress further into the story, you really need to utilise every move Juan has learnt along the way to defeat his enemies and progress the story.
Another element to the Guacamelee gameplay is the many head scratching sections that require the player to put down their controller and truly assess what the best route ahead is. While this aspect may frustrate some, the eventual completion is hugely gratifying. Guacamelee is a throwback title that never gives the player anything for free. You have to use all of your experience and ability to beat the trickier moments and luckily the game rewards the invested time and effort.
As with any game there are a handful of gripes here and there. Undoubtedly Guacamelee’s biggest issue is its length. The game can easily be beaten in one day and while this isn’t a surprise for an indie game, it is a great shame when the experience is such a fun one. Another shame with Guacamelee is the great idea of swapping between “The Living World” and “The Dead World” is never fully explored. There is vast potential with this unique idea that could have been capitalised on further and hopefully if there is a Guacamelee 2, this idea will be fleshed out a little more.
Guacamelee is a hugely enjoyable downloadable title from the Playstation Store that offers a deep combat system, fun animation and its fair share of puzzles that will make you want to throw your controller one minute and make you not want to put it down the next.
David is a massive computer game geek that regularly bores his Twitter followers with computer game ramblings. If this sounds appealing to you, follow him @TheDavidRyan