Guacamelee! 2 Review – A Fiesta For Your Eyes?

Guacamelee! 2 by developer DrinkBox Studios is the long awaited sequel to the platformer series which sees hero luchador Juan Aguacate come out of retirement for a new metroidvania style adventure set across the vast Mexiverse.  Inspired by Mexican culture, folklore, crazy chickens and the thrill of wrestling moves, Guacamelee! 2 brings you an epic new story that plays across both the living and the dead worlds simultaneously as well as featuring 4 player local co-op.  Available for both Playstation and PC, is Guacamelee! 2 going to be a fiesta or muy mal?

Guacamelee 2

I believe I can fly!!!!

Gameplay

Guacamelee! 2 begins as a single player game as you recap what has previously happened in the first Guacamelee! back in 2013.  Evil Calaca has captured El Presidente’s daughter Lupita and is attempting to merge the worlds of the living and the dead.  Cue a sprint through the world and a fight against Calaca, unfortunately you are too late to stop the mystical goings on and the worlds combine.  Calaca now becomes a large fiery winged demon however as large as they are you have the skills to lay them out.  With the beast deaded, the girl is yours, life is good.  7 years later, and now retired, you are pretty much a full time father of 2 kids and married to Lupita.  Your latest death defying mission?  To go and seek avocados at the local market.

During the beginnings of the story you learn the very basic moves of punching when skeletons suddenly begin to invade your town.   A few hammerings of the square button and Juan has quickly dispatched them and a bright purple “20 hit combo” emblazons the screen.  A strange goat (Uay Chivo) lures you into a mystical portal which takes you firstly to Pueblimbo (The Dark Timeline) where the world changes from a vibrant colourful place to that of shadows and silhouettes before going to Riviera City which appeared to be a homage to the early 90s beat-em up games with electronic music and signs above buildings such as “Triple Dragon”.  Here you learn that El Presidente has been kidnapped by ninjas.  The goat man appears once more and you abscond to Pueblucho (The Darkest Timeline).  Here a baddie named Salvador steals a golden relic in his quest to become stronger however the relics are what keeps the Mexiverse stable and without them it may collapse, now the other relics are in jeopardy.  Cue the quest!

Guacamelee 2

The puns in the game are many!

Guacamelee! 2 gently lures you bit by bit into the game with its well guided objectives, massive humour from the start and is totally action packed all the way.  Juan regains his wrestler mask from Tostada and it is from this point that an additional 3 players can join in.

As you work your way around the map, exploring and opening chests that reward you in either coins, parts of a heart or a mask, you get to choose whether you want to run past the enemy or take them on however there are places where the word “Lucha” flies onto the screen and a mini battle occurs.  Here you must defeat the waves of monsters before you can continue.  Should you lose your life and be killed, you must replay the mini battle from the start.  Juan has some pretty cool moves to stop this from happening with neat dodge roll skills that allow him to not get hurt however you need to be spot on with the timings to utilise it well!  The ability to throw stunned enemies into one another as well as air attack is awesome.  A large pinata appears on the screen for you to batter and collect your reward for (eventually) surviving the battle!

Guacamelee 2

Confined space training was not required here!

Once a village is found it is worth chatting to the locals and you may also locate a “Trainer”.  A trainer’s job is help you unlock new skills and fight combos.  Juan can begin to learn skills such as “Rooster punch” which allows him to rapidly demolish enemies as well as jump higher in the air to reach out of normal jump range platforms and break through red stones that block your path to access new locations.  Later on in the game this skill is also used to remove shields from enemies before they can be harmed.  New combos can be learnt to allow you to deal damage more effectively, critical for those multiple enemy battles which happen more and more often as you progress.  I particularly enjoyed the “Eagle soar” power which allowed Juan to effectively grapple onto golden eagle hold-points on a screen before getting a flying boost in the direction that you have chosen.  The game mechanic works wonders when navigating to far away platforms and avoiding enemy fire.  Very quickly you are utilising all of your skills of punching, soaring and dodging to cross moving platforms, evade thorn bushes and beat up multiple enemy.

Guacamelee! 2

Find those trainers and unlock those skills!

The game mechanic seen also in the first game which stands out for me is the way that you play both in the living and dead world at the same time on occasions, where although all the enemies are shown on the screen, some are silhouetted out as they are in the other dimension.  One part of the level involved Juan jumping into a portal to switch to the other dimension and attack those enemy before jumping back once more to defeat the others.  Later levels feature a dimension wave which traverses the screen revealing or hiding the enemies that are within the wave.  The dimension jumping makes you think carefully about your tactics when dispatching enemy.

For all you chicken lovers out there, Pollo power is back once more giving Juan the ability to turn into a chicken and enter sections of the map that are too small for him to usually fit into.  This time the chicken has been upgraded to allow chicken shot attacks on the enemy as well as gliding and this makes for a bundle of fun, especially when playing with others!

Guacamelee! 2

Mexican vibes are everywhere!

Graphics

Guacamelee! 2 oozes bright colourful cartoon-like characters, backdrops and levels, it is certainly a fiesta on the eyes!  Vibrant text fires onto the screen, running alongside the action that is happening and keeping you in the gaming zone as you try to beat your best combo score.  Mexican carnival party vibes scream at you everywhere!  All of the action flows smoothly from one screen to the next as you leap about and pull off wrestling moves and throw the enemy about whilst darting between dimensions.

Audio

The haunting Mexican music is awesome.  Trumpets and guitar serenade your ears giving you that authentic Mexican taste.  The soundtrack can be a little repetitive at times depending on what part of the map you are exploring, however with all of the action occurring on every screen it becomes more a backing track rather than an annoyance.

Longevity

The map in Guacamelee! 2 is huge.  Progression in the game is fun with objectives being ‘get from point a to point b’ however there is so much to discover along the way and it isn’t until new skills are unlocked that certain areas then become reachable, therefore if you are hoping to get 100% completion you will be back tracking through the map to discover those hidden bonuses!

The ability for upto 3 extra players to drop in and out to play alongside you is fun, as well as sociable, and makes for some brilliant combo moves as you tag team up to smash the enemy together!

With lots of comedy and a whole heap of action that reminds me of the old platform games of yester-year that really make you think at times how to reach that elusive platform to get to the next part of the game, I award Guacamelee! 2 the Thumb Culture Gold Award!

El Disclaimer: Se recibió un código de revisión para completar este artículo loco

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Jason

Atari ST, PC & PS4 Pro gamer, Father and Rock legend. Can normally be found lost somewhere in Bolivia during his spare time! PSN: Psycho_sparky

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