Title: Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition
Platform: Wii U / Xbox 360 / Xbox One / PS3 / PS4 / Vita / PC (reviewed on Wii U)
Developer: DrinkBox Studios
Publisher: DrinkBox Studios, Activision (Xbox 360)
Release date: Wii U: 02 July 2013
TL;DR: Guacamelee is a killer adventure game with a unique combat system.
Family Friendly?: Check base of article to find out!

DrinkBox Studios first made a name for itself with the Tales From Space series, and now with Guacamelee as well! It’s easily DrinkBox’s best game to date; with the plot delivered entirely in text the story isn’t very important, but it does make me laugh out loud.

In a small village in Mexico, Juan Aguacate is a humble agave farmer who is in love with El Presidente’s Daughter. When an evil charro skeleton named Carlos Calaca attacks the village and kidnaps El Presidente’s Daughter, Juan is killed during his attempt to stop him and winds up in the land of the dead. There, a mysterious luchador named Tostada gives Juan a mysterious mask that transforms him into a powerful luchador himself and brings him back to the world of the living. It is now up to Juan to stop Carlos from sacrificing El Presidente’s Daughter in a ritual that will allow him to take both the living and dead worlds.

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Guacamelee is an action game that’s kind of a homage to games like Castlevania, but with its own style and twist. It’s short and to the point, but with an unlockable hard difficulty mode and co-op levels, so the game gives you enough to want to return to the game and carry on playing. I really loved the brief cut scenes as they were always significant, but never so long that they took away from the gameplay.

“Juan’s ability to move between the living and the dead was a similar idea to Giana sisters Twisted Dreams, but was not used to its full advantage.”

The combat in Guacamelee is absolutely extraordinary; at first I thought that it was stiff and badly designed, but what I didn’t realise at the time was that I didn’t truly understand the concept of the mechanics. Guacamelee’s combat system seems simple at first but once you explore deeper, you realise that it is far more complex and exciting. Your simple punches and kicks will eventually be rewarded with uppercuts, grabs and you’ll also be able to toss your enemies. Each new skill has a colour associated with it so when you proceed to find barriers you can use your skill to remove them.

“I really loved the brief cut scenes as they were always significant but never so long that they took away from the gameplay.”

Guacamelee also adds RPG elements to its adventure style game. Juan must find three types of treasure that litter most of the game. Some treasure will contain coins to buy new skills, which will eventually make it easier for you to kill enemies. You can also find chests containing hearts and gold to gain more health and strengthen your special metre.

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I’m sorry to say that one of my favourite features was dramatically underused, and this was one of the most disappointing parts of the game for me. Juan’s ability to move between the living and the dead was a similar idea to Giana sisters Twisted Dreams duality system, but was not used to its full advantage. This skill does not come into play until half way through the game, but definitely adds a new aspect to battles and defeating your enemies who are trapped within a different plane of existence.

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What makes Guacamelee stand out from other games with a similar structure is its presentation, which is vibrant, comical, and filled with parodies of popular game characters and franchises. Though you can team up with a friend for some hard-hitting co-op action, the game rarely takes advantage of the opportunities a second player brings to the table.

Guacamelee is right up there with Shovel Knight and if you are looking for an open world action game with a twist, then this is definitely your bag. If you are a fan of – or become a fan of – Guacamelee then you can also look forward to Juan appearing as a playable cameo character in the upcoming Wii U and PC game Hex Heroes.

Good times!

  • A vibrant art style
  • A great sense of humour
  • An interesting combat system

Bad times :(

  • I wish the co- op could have been utilised more
  • The duality system was underused
  • No real distinctive plot.

Family Focus

Guacamelee is a PEGI 12 rating as it shows violence of a slightly graphic nature towards fantasy characters.