Things X 5 – Guacamelee

by Francois Joron

Every once in a while, I will skip an acclaimed game. Most of the time because it doesn’t fit with my tastes but sometimes, I will inexplicably pass up a game that seems tailored for me. That’s pretty much the case with Guacamelee. It has a quirky style, is littered with jokes and, more importantly, it’s been hailed as an excellent “metroidvania” game; a genre, when done right, I crave. Since its original release in April 2013, my cursor has been hovering over the “add to cart” button on multiple occasions. There is no reason why I haven’t got it other than that I’ve been keeping busy with other games. So it is only recently that I’ve finally had the chance to play the newly released Super Turbo Championship Edition of the game and I must say that people were right: Guacamelee is remarkable.


Así se hace un buen Metroidvania


Recently, there’s been a certain amount of retro-ish games flaunting the “metroidvania” label as a selling point, only to fail to really capture, or even encompass, the genre. But the people behind Guacamelee really understand the intricacies of a true Metroid-style game. A good Metroid game is composed by many layers: there is a sense of discovery, an elegance in which the game teases you with blocked areas, and there needs to be an immediate satisfaction when you acquire upgrades. There is also a certain rhythm in the pacing around how you’re becoming more powerful in the world that must be respected. Even after all that, the areas within this interconnected world must have a distinct feel to them. A certain signature in both its aesthetic and mechanic is also a must. These are only a few characteristics that make, for me at least, 2D Metroid games such a delight to play (and replay), and Guacamelee excels in all of those areas and then some by using the conventions of the genre creatively.  I must admit that initially, to my surprise, Guacamelee is probably one of the best Metroidvania games I’ve played in recent years. Simply put, Guacamelee is smart in its design.


Peleas fáciles de entender pero siempre desafiantes


Although it borrows at lot from Metroid, Guacamelee’s combat is its own beast. It’s a great combo-based scheme supported by tight controls and some creative encounters to let you experiment with the system in imaginative ways. The game is not shy to slip into old-school flavored difficulty, throwing multiple foes and environmental hazards at you and requiring that you pull off creative (and impressive) feats and combinations of special moves. The game is constantly using every mechanic at your disposal as a means to get an edge in the battle. Even the world swapping ability that lets you switch between the lush world of the living and the dry, lava-filled land of the dead at the tap of a button plays in service to this approach. From a design perspective Guacamelee is pretty sharp.


Llamativo estilo de arte


The art style of Guacamelee, obviously borrowing a lot from Mexican folklore and is absolutely striking. There has obviously been an astonishing amount of work put into each and every detail of the world of the game. It is graphically powerful and colorful, thus making exploring both the land of the living and the dead a feast for the eyes.


Una broma en cada rincón


The game does not hesitate to joke around and make references to not just other games (like Super Metroid, which is exceeds in many ways), but also movies, music, Internet culture and whatever has been relevant to pop culture in the last few years or so. It is clearly a product of its generation, and a good one at that. More often than not, it is genuinely funny. It also has the best QR Code joke ever made.


Una opción perfecta para Miiverse

Just like the 3DS release of Retro City Rampage that was filled with jokes and references, Guacamelee makes a perfect use of the Miiverse. While the Wii U release sadly has no Miiverse integration, the game has many puns, jokes and funny moments just begging to be shared.

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I cannot speak to how the added content of this Super Turbo Championship Edition has impacted the original content but the bonus costumes (that you can buy with a special currency), bonus levels and allegedly smoothed difficulty spikes all seem to have been seamlessly integrated into the game. A special mention is deserved for the Wii U version which features Off-TV gameplay and a permanent map on the GamePad that is quite handy in addition to the basic upgrades.

This feature was written based on a Nintendo eShop code provided by Drinkbox Studios. Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship is available to download on the Nintendo eShop for the Wii U, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Xbox 360 for $14.99. 

Don’t forget, you can drop me hints on my Twitter account. Also, you are welcome to send me a friend request on my Wii U, my Nintendo Network ID is Jorf-Jorf. My 3DS Friend Code is 5069-3920-3758. If you want to snoop at what I’m playing on PS3 my PSN ID is l_am_error. Have a great week!


Want to win a copy of Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition? Follow @4colorrebellion and @DrinkBoxStudios and leave a comment below with your Twitter handle and your platform of choice for a chance at getting a free copy! We have Wii U, XBO and 360 codes (US codes), so good luck!

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