DrinkBox Studios’ simple platformer/smashem up/puzzle game/love story/ Goatman! Simply put? Guacamelee, is beautiful, clever and thrilling!
SO, players find themselves woken up by the local vicar asking the main character, a lonely farmer named Juan Aquacave, to run some errands in the village. BUT, as the plot unfolds an old acquaintance/possible tart, the nameless daughter of El Presidente is kidnapped by horny undead skeleton Calaca. You rush off with your large potato coloured fists still raw from the errands you have just finished and silently stand off to Calaca and his posse of mini bosses; yes this game is awesome enough to have mini bosses and you’ll find yourself sending them to the land of the dead.
This leads me to what I want the players to know, this game is not a simple damsel in distress mashemup that we’ve seen in countless stories. Juan is not a hero. He’s a farmer, and I’m sure there’s heroic farmers out there it’s just that Mr Juan Aquacave is anything but. SO you’re sent to the land of the dead after the local tart who has been captured by a horny skeleton. Boo hoo, The End.
Wait, as all was undoubtedly lost Juan stumbles across the Guardian of the Mask and she gives him a legendary Luchadore relic; the mask. Juan is back into his mute action ready to get his overly sized fists on the love of his life. With themed warping, chicken changing, skeleton bashing, level-upping, jumping, falling, dying, dying again, and dying some more. Guacamelee is a helluva of a packed game, the story is set; Juan has his masked and the world is the player’s oyster.
There are two main elements to Guacamelee, as the title suggests, a large part of this fun packed platformer will be melee! (Pun included). As players level up throughout the game, they will learn new combos which they can practice at the gym with an oversize chicken, (don’t ask), as well as attaining new skills that they can use in combat. As players traverse DrinkBox’s world the path won’t be cleared until every last 2D skeleton, flower, much-kin and yes even weird undead hedgehogs that look like they’ve been injected with the world’s supply of steroids, is ultimately vanquished with your big meaty hands.
Oh, that’s not to say this game is just fighting, oh no. The second large element of this platformer is of course, jumping, wall running, flying, falling and then probably dying. Juan advances rapidly, but it’s not simple XP, it’s finding segments to fill in masks, once a mask is filled your Stamina, Health, Special Combo Multiplier is advanced. But does this mean the challenges get easier as you advance?
Of course not, the game ramps up to harder and different enemies, and will start to incorporate different elements, such as having to switch to the Land of the Dead to kill some enemies and switch back to the Land of the Living to smash some other enemies. Other enemies have shields, the possibilities are endless button smashing fun.
To get these jaw dropping and skeleton smashing skills you need to destroy Choozo statues, belonging to a very mother friendly, but otherwise grumpy Goatman. He is Juan’s sensei throughout his escapade, instead of teaching you everything at once, he hides from you in statues that are inevitable to find; but don’t think he’ll be happy about you smashing up his statues. The game is worth buying just to interact with old grumpy goat, don’t think you’ll miss a statue as the game has been planned for you to find each one. The more moves given to you the happier you’ll get! There’s no greater joy in this game than dodging a lethal attack, jumping and uppercutting and enemy into another, grabbing his buddy throwing him into reinforcements before gliding up a wall and out of sight.
There are charming side quests for players to enjoy, from finding a lost band member to punching chickens into their den; there are moments though when the game instead of giving a fresh new challenge just throws more enemies at Juan, these moments are hard to spot, and are rare. Players will be to busy ramping up the punches to even notice. Players will have to start using their new ability to warp to different worlds if they want 100% and a new trophy.
Dedication and hard work shows as when players switch the worlds not only the world changes but the back drop as well, for example when in the treetops, in the Land of the Living they’re fresh and green, but in the Land of the Dead, they’re torched and dry. Even the colours change in the world, taking inspiration from Piñatas this game is vibrant with colours and gives a keen insight into Mexican culture.
The combat is fluid, brilliant and the graphics are kinda sexy even more so for next gen users. Replay value I hear you ask? There’s chests and side missions you can go back and complete to get 100% and then after completing the game on normal, hard mode is unlocked. There’s even challenges to complete down in the games equivalent of Hell, where tempers will be tested. Guacamelee’s platforming is especially difficult and players will have to use the skills they learn wisely if they want to beat the challenges on silver, let alone gold. Oh there’s mini bosses too!
The price for PS4 users is currently £11.49, but I played this game for ten hours and still love it and have yet to get that 100%. I would pay alot lot more for this game, and that’s rare thing indeed.
Already brought it? Let us know what you think!