They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Well “they” are wrong; the true way to a man’s heart is through video game goofs and puns. That is at least how Guacamelee forcefully lodged its way into my chest.
On top of the puns, which I frankly would have settled for, lies some amazing gameplay. This game is as Metriodvania as Metroidvania can get. In my short time with the demo I used a super uppercut to reach a high ledge, learned how to wall jump from a goat, and turned into a chicken to crawl through a small space. So if that kind of “get the new item to pass” gameplay is what you are craving, you will get it with Guacamelee.
What Guacamelee has above the games it was inspired by though, and what really impressed me, is great combat. Brawling in this game is not unlike Shank, in that it can be frantic and brutal but you have every opportunity to succeed as long as you can dodge and punch at the right time. Another interesting mechanic I witnessed in the demo was the ability to jump from the “world of the living” to the “world of the dead.” While this did affect traversal, it mostly manifested itself in combat; sometimes you will be unable to hit certain enemies because they exist in the alternate dimension. But do not think just because you can not hit them, that they can not hit you, because they sure as hell can.
The only way to deal with these alternate dimension tough guys is to jump through a portal somewhere on the screen. Be warned though, when you enter the other world the once vulnerable enemies will suddenly become untouchable phantoms again. Juggling between two planes trying eliminate all the baddies while also trying not to get whooped is quite a thrilling experience. It one of the major things that Drinkbox is adding on top of the tried and true Metroidvania gameplay tropes.
If all the dodge rolls and dimension flipping sounds like too much of a challenge then grab yourself a friend. Guacamelee has drop-in-drop-out co-op play. When a new player joins in, a bubble will float around the screen for you to punch. When you pop the bubble a female Lucha Libre will appear with all the combat and traversal skills that you have. So far no online co-op has been announced but you will be able to use your Vita as a second controller while the Vita screen doubles as a map.
My time with Guacamelee was an absolute blast. The fluid animation and subtle video game humor are exactly what you would expect from DrinkBox. I know I mentioned video game gags at the top and never really went into them; this is only because they are so good I do not want to ruin them for you. Trust me, they exist, and they are fantastic. It does not seem like it is going too much out on a limb here to say that this game is going to be good, maybe great even. If you like Metriod, Shank, or video games at all you will want watch out for Guacamelee.
Things you should know about Guacamelee–
- Early 2013 release date.
- PSN exclusive.
- Available on the Vita and PS3.
- You can turn into a chicken.
- Cloud saves will allow you to swap your file from PS3 to Vita and vice versa.