Welcome to Guacamelee!, one of my favorite games released on 2013. It is a platforming beat’em’up that lets you roam from level to level. You unlock new skills that lets you reach other areas in previous levels, and everything is wrapped up in great presentation and humor.
I find everything about this game just so well done, from the combat to the platforming. The platforming, especially, can get quite tricky, which I really like. The combat is punchy, fast-paced and satisfying. The entire art style is seeping with color and Mexicaness (that’s not a word).
I would recommend playing with a controller, but a keyboard shouldn’t be too bad.
You play as Juan, simple agave farmer and childhood friend of El Presidente’s daughter.
All of a sudden the world of the dead starts invading the world of the living! Carlos Calaca came back from the dead for revenge! And true to villain form, he kidnaps Juan’s childhood friend, El Presidente’s daughter (she doesn’t get a name during the playthrough).
And he also kills you instantly. But worry not, you’re about to get stronger. I’ll start with the art style and music, since that’s what we have so far. I believe the game uses flash, or at least you can make custom skins for your character in flash. It’s crisp and sharp with a vibrant world, full of color. Even the land of the dead has some nice color, though a bit less bright. I like the colorful world, and it suits the less serious tone of the game well.
The music is also great, Mexican inspired tones. There are two versions of each song, one for the world of the dead and one for the world of the living. I haven’t heard this technique used since the original dot hack games, but the music seamlessly switches between the two whenever you change dimensions.
After wandering around the world of the dead a bit, you find the legendary luchador mask that grants you great power! Also, you get the help of the mask guardian, Tostada. In-game, that means you can now play 2-player co-op. It’s local only, so I haven’t had a chance to try it out.
Now, we get to some combat. First up, save the town from the skeleton attack!
Combat in this game is fast and fluid. There are tons of animation cancelling going on, so you’re never locked into an action. Just jump in and dash out all while kicking ass. It allows you to easily pull of wicked combos to defeat your enemies.
There’s also grabbing, which appears as an option after pummeling a target for a bit. You then have 360 degrees of control for throwing them into other enemies, walls or what have you. Also, you can gain special throws, such as a Suplex, a Piledriver or Das Boot. These deal more damage with less throwing range. Chain together attacks and throws for big damage and combos.
There are a good amount of enemies in the game. They have tells before attacking, so getting hit is mostly something you can control.
The game also includes a lot of platforming. It doesn’t require as much precision as say, Super Meat Boy, but it does take some finger dexterity. Most special moves you get over the game also work into the platforming. Sometimes, you’ll need to chain together several moves to make it. And then there are the challenge levels, which take things even higher.
Moves like Rooster Uppercut gets you higher and onto out of reach platforms.
Also, there are sidequests as well. They provide more health and more stamina (to perform special moves). They are pretty simple, but they add good flavor to the world. And they also highlight the silliness that goes throughout the game.
There are references to memes and other video games throughout the world. For example, you get more moves from a guy changed out from a goat form after you break this “Choozo” statue. And he gets really upset whenever you destroy a statue, even though he doesn’t just decide to give you the move before you break it.
This game has everything I want out of this genre, from good combat to challenging platforming.
It also has:
And random link