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REVIEW | Embrace Your Luchador Side With Beefed-Up “Guacamelee!”

By
Posted on September 1, 2014 AT 10:18am

Last year the folks over at Drinkbox Studios unleashed an animated powerhouse of a video game called Guacamelee!, winning the hearts of both gamers and journalists alike. Now the inevitable has peered its head into the next-gen realm with the release of the revamped and stylish Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition, which is as ultra as you can probably get.

The story of Guacamelee! follows Juan, a humble farmer living in Mexico. El Presidente’s Daughter has returned, bringing back old feelings for the lovely lady of the country. Things quickly turn sour when an evil skeleton named Carols appears, kidnapping the daughter and mortally wounding Juan. All appears lost, until a mysterious luchador mask appears and chooses Juan as he owner. With a new lease on life it is now up to Juan to save El Presidente’s Daughter and prevent the worlds of the living and the dead from becoming one.

During your adventure, which can be conquered solo or in co-op, you’ll be given the chance to discover new power-ups that will help you on your quest. From the Rooster Uppercut and the Dashing Derpderp to the Pollo Power — where you’ll transform into a chicken — these maneuvers will help you discover new paths, find hidden items, and even tackle on different kinds of enemies. It’s when you are given the ability to switch between the lands of the living and the dead when things get interesting.

Switching between the two worlds will not only give you the task of fighting shadowed enemies, but also the need to solve some challenging areas. Case in point, in one later level you’ll have to go through an area riddled with lava in one realm but filled with blocked pathways in the other. In order to get through these kinds of areas you’ll be tasked to switch back and forth between the living and the dead worlds rather quickly.

Guacamelee! is a game where timing is key, almost down to the very millisecond. Moments like the one mentioned above will have you dying over and over again until you discover that necessary second that will lead you successfully from Point A to Point B. Believe me when I tell you that it can — and will — be frustrating, almost to the point where you’ll want to chuck your controller through your TV, but when you finally accomplish that area the euphoria you’ll receive will be satisfying…until the next challenging realm appears.

When battling against enemies the game becomes quite the arcade button-masher. Jumping, punching, piledriving, and tossing enemies around is a blast to watch on-screen, but you’ll most definitely feel the pain in your fingertips as you attempt to battle different enemy types with various kinds of magic barriers and explosives. It’s the type of game where multitasking is key, but at the same time letting your fingers do the thinking may cause more damage than good in the long run.

Fortunately the visual spectacle of Guacamelee! will keep your mind off the pain in your finger tips. The brightness and detail of the lands are simply wonderful on the eyes, from the fiery realms underground to even the character designs. In some areas it brought to mind the cartoon ¡Mucha Lucha!, another Mexican wrestling-based series that I’m sure many players of this game will remember fondly.

Surprisingly I couldn’t help but think of ¡Mucha Lucha! when it came to the story, thanks to its nicely-formed arcs and — especially — its humor. The attention to Mexican folklore and its legends is dually noted, which the game features predominantly throughout its worlds and characters. Sure, there are some that may look at the comedy in the game and claim it to be a bit stereotypical, but if you can check your political correctness at the front entrance you’ll discover a great tale of love, tragedy, and chickens.

For the Super Turbo Championship Edition Drinkbox Studios not only delivered with all the DLC in-tact, but also expanded the story with new levels and boss battles. Those who complained about the original’s game length should no longer complain, as these new elements flesh out the story more rather than act as unnecessary filler. If you’ve played this game already, I would suggest going through it again just to see the newer content.

Guacamelee! should take you roughly seven hours to beat, although there are plenty of side quests to go on to lengthen that game time. From herding chickens and crabs to building the world’s largest enchilada Juan has many other jobs under his belt soon after El Presidente’s Daughter has been rescued from the Carlos’s clutches.

PROS:

  • Great story, nice attention to Mexican culture
  • Unique power-ups, challenging bosses
  • Beautifully cartoonish worlds

CONS:

  • Some frustrating areas
  • Will leave you with sore fingers

FINAL THOUGHTS:

If you haven’t jumped onto the Guacamelee! bandwagon yet, then the Super Turbo Championship Edition should entice you enough to finally give it a go. With its great and humorous story and gorgeous level designs the tale of Juan, El Presidente’s Daughter, and Carlos is one that should be viewed by both gamers and lovers of Mexican culture.

FINAL GRADE: 9.2 (out of ten)

PS4 review code provided by Chris McQuinn of Drinkbox Studios

Evan Bourgault is an accomplished music, anime, and video game critic. His passion for discovering new bands, developers, and Japanese pop culture began in his college radio days and continues on today. Evan joined the ElectricSistaHood team in 2008, where he is a contributing editor and host of one of the network's weekly podcasts. Follow Evan on Twitter at twitter.com/King_Baby_Duck


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