Drinkbox Bringing Luchador Laughs with Guacamelee (Hands On)

Somehow, we’re living again in the age of killer 2D platformers. Drinkbox is bringing their own version to the party with their new title, Guacamelee. Featuring an art style that evokes traditional Mexican culture with magical Luchador overtones, this new title is sure to delight fans of Metroidvania games,

Guacamelee features Juan, a washed up Luchador working in the agave fields of Mexico. After an undead skeleton kidnaps El Presidente’s daughter (somehow connected to his desire to merge the worlds of the living and the dead), Juan finds a mystical Luchador mask, giving him remarkable powers. He and his partner Tostada join up (via local co-op) to rescue the young maiden.

In addition to the beat ‘em up combat and high flying, wall bouncing acrobatics, Guacamelee features a shifting mechanic that allows you to flip between the worlds of the living and the dead. This will enable you to circumvent barriers (somewhat like last year’s Outworld) and engage enemies locked into one of the worlds (but silhouetted while in the other).

Early in the game, you’ll be restricted to the use of portals to switch between worlds. Later, though, you will earn a power that allows you to do it at will.

The game features a goofy sense of humor, riffing on other titles with a giant chicken that spouts a line very similar to “It’s a secret to everyone,” and a Chozo statue from Metroid. Oh, and you can turn into a chicken yourself and learn from a wise man that can turn into a goat. Did I mention that it’s quirky?

The biggest trick of the game was communicating during co-op, as both players can initiate a dimension shift. Without speaking with your partner, you’ll end up agonizing over platforming segments that require use of the mechanic. There’s a bit of time for that to get ironed out, though, as Guacamelee won’t be arriving until early 2013 for PC and consoles.

Michael Futter

Mike is the Reviews Editor and former Community Manager for this fine, digital establishment. You can find him crawling through dungeons, cruising the galaxy in the Normandy, and geeking it out around a gaming table.

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