I love guacamole and have a passing interest in melees, but I initially wrote this game off as just another bizarre downloadable title with a wacky setting/theme. I was actually just browsing around various gaming websites and somehow stumbled upon the news that this was actually a Metroidvania style game, which immediately made me think:
“¡Quiero saber más!”
Well, something like that. I think I almost failed high school Spanish and could probably only ask you questions about bathrooms or cats.
The game is based in Mexican culture, which you don’t see in video games too often. Although I’ll probably think of half a dozen examples after I’ve already finished this post. (Edit: Aha! Grim Fandango! I got one!) Of course it’s probably a more exaggerated and stereotypical portrayal of Mexican culture, but I don’t think it’s ever in a negative or offensive way. The game is actually pretty funny at times but I don’t remember it ever being at the expense of the culture.
I always found Luchadors to be oddly fascinating and running around as a half-naked masked man and suplexing skeletal hombres is a whole lot of fun. The combat in the game seems to have a surprising amount of depth considering the genre. You can punch, grab, throw, uppercut, suplex, use special moves, etc and chain it all together for some massive ground and aerial combos. You have a life bar and stamina meter, of sorts, and you can upgrade both by finding pieces of skulls and such, kind of like finding heart pieces in Zelda.
Another thing that surprised me was the inclusion of some really awesome platforming sections. You eventually unlock the ability to uppercut, which adds to the vertical height you can achieve, then you can get wall jump, double jump, wall run, etc. This allows for some pretty awesome platforming sequences that they frankly could have built an entire game around. I was reminded a lot of VVVVVV (give or take a V) at certain parts, actually.
There’s not really a bad thing I can say about the experience other than it ends sooner than I’d like. I think I clocked in somewhere around 8 and a half hours but I would have easily invested twice that or more if I could. Guacamelee is an incredibly fun and funny game, jam-packed with various easter eggs and cameos from gaming and internet culture. I highly recommend playing it if you have a Ps3 or Vita. Actually, I think if you buy it you get it for both. ¿Qué tienes que perder?