The power of the Luchador.
I missed out on Guacamelee the first time it was released about a year ago. I always heard good things about it, with its complex combat and Metroidvania style. Now, it hits the current generation consoles in a new iteration called the Super Turbo Championship Edition. Now that I tapped into my inner Luchador, I was taken away very surprised.
Taking on the role of Juan, the land is taken over by the land of the dead, with multiple villains emerging from the separate realm to rule over the living world. In the process, Juan is transported to the land of the dead and is given the power of the Luchador, and sent back to the living world to stop the evil Calaca from sacrificing la hija del presidente.
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, 360, Wii U
Price I’d pay: $14.99
Multiplayer: 2 player co-op local only
Using a beat ‘em up formula, players can attack using normal punches and kicks in simplistic combos, or can utilize special attacks they unlock throughout the game. These include a super head butt, a rising uppercut, a downward body slam and many other pseudo-wrestling moves. Using these special attacks take up a block of stamina. Juan will eventually learn to harness the full potential of the Luchador and will be able to activate Intenso! Using a meter that is filled through attacking, this will turn him into a super charged Luchador and will allow him to hit even harder as well as heal himself.
Much like a 2D Castlevania or Metroid, finding these attacks will not only help in combat, but also in traversing the environment, allowing players to reach areas they couldn’t previously. The flow of new abilities and new areas is set at a very nice pace, and nothing ever felt like a drag.
Along with the main story, there are a ton of side quests to take on. These can range from talking to other NPCs to finding hidden areas after discovering a later power. Returning to previously explored parts will offer up possible health, stamina and intenso upgrades that can help out in the later combat sections.
The new additions to the game in the Super Turbo Championship Edition are two new areas and even a new boss. Along with new areas, new enemy types make an appearance as well. I know that many people said the original game was slightly too short. With these new additions in place, players can see at least two more hours added.
Being a wrestler is difficult.
While the game is great and the look and overall feel is fantastic, I do have to point out a few things that really got to me. The difficulty, both in the platforming and the combat, ramp up to almost frustrating levels in the last two hours of the game. I could spend over five minutes trying to make a specific jump, having to utilize multiple special abilities, air dodging, and shifting the living and dead worlds. The bosses were a breeze compared to the regular enemies the game threw at me towards the end. Not only would I have to deal with deadly traps in an area, but would have to take out multiple enemies using shields that can only be broken by a certain special attack, and then having to worry about pesky flying enemies that count down and explode if not killed. It was very frustrating to say the least.
Players looking for some help can get it through the local co-op throughout the entire game. Of course, it is not required, but having an extra person to help out in some of those really difficult combat sequences can make all the difference.
Still, I was able to power through the game, and when looking back, realized I had a pretty decent time with Guacamelee. It does a lot of interesting things, and certainly offers up a good challenge. The dialog is clever, and uses many pop culture and video game references that made me smile. That, along with the wonderful art style and fantastic soundtrack, makes it a very good deal for only $15. It has some big difficulty spikes, but overall Guacamelee is still a very fun time.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.