Guacamelee! PS3 Review

Guacamelee! is a PS3/Vita platformer from indie game developers: DrinkBox Studio, following the life of a once-ordinary Mexican in the town of Pueblucho.

This game is impressionable even before you have passed the menu section, with its well-fitting Mexican-themed soundtrack, it is already apparent that the game is going to be very up-beat.

Jumping into the game, you discover straight away that the protagonist is a young man, stereotypically named Juan, and you don't even have to find your way out of his house before noticing the incredibly vivid and eye-catching graphics you're yet to chance upon. In addition to this, there are several disguised meme references painted up on buildings in-game.

Although in Guacamelee! there is regrettably no voice acting, for some this is a helpful advantage to the game, as quickly reading ahead of slow narration becomes irritating.

Once you've set foot into the world and spoken to some townspeople, you're quested with a trip to the church to help out. Objectives appear in a blue bar at the top of your screen but also disappear almost instantaneously, resulting in you having to stop in your tracks and hit select to ensure you're on the correct route and are aware of your task. Luckily, not long into the game the main mission is relatively simple, save the allegedly beautiful and intelligent daughter of el Presidente from a skeleton, who's the self-proclaimed ruler of the Dead World, Carlos Calaca. Though, before you are even granted with the opportunity to get a word in with this malicious skeleton and his two evil sidekicks, you're knocked out immediately.

After eventually awakening from a seemingly brutal defeat by Carlos, this is where it all begins. You stumble upon Tostada, a woman who is explained to be Guardian of the Mask (and furthermore, an optional co-op character) and proudly grants you with said mask for you to use it to its full ability, becoming a superhero.

Shortly after being revived, your next task lies within the Temple of Rain, which is where all the fun starts, on the way you can also participate in a number of side-tasks around the town. These quick tasks can range from throwing some helpless farm animals back into their pen, to learning a stream of difficult-to-master combo moves from an abnormally large chicken.

Inside of the Temple is where you'll finally get to put your new attacks to the test, though in Guacamelee! enemies vary greatly in difficulty, the majority of your combat will be taken out on skeletons wearing ponchos or slow, but powerful robots that, if not defeated at the first attempt, will have you jumping out of your seat with infuriation whilst furiously tapping the buttons to those new moves you've just learned. This is a point in which a second co-op player comes in quite useful, and another great feature of the game is unlocked; the ability to transform into a floating bubble if one player decides they want to take on a level single-handedly.

From successfully defeated enemies you will receive coins, but thats not the only way you can collect them. There are plenty of treasure chests to be found in Guacamelee! Colours of the chests decide what the contents will be: health, mana, and of course coins that can be spent on stalls around the map.

Drinkbox Studios have uniquely incorporated a twist to what otherwise would have been some relatively simple levels, when launching yourself between platforms you will encounter portals that throw you into a different world (later in the game you're granted the chance to 'swap dimensions' at the click of a button), and allow you to collect extra coins, cling on to platforms that once appeared as an invisible outline, or in some cases help you defeat an enemy that can only take damage in one of these two worlds (the living, and the dead). However, Guacamelee! lacks explanation for this feature so you're left to discover on your own terms.

Many have argued that this game, in general, is far too short, and it is true that it will not take you long to complete, however the developers have thrown in boss fights and levels that can't be easily beat the first time round. This means you're required to put some extra time and effort into getting them right. For an inexpensive PSN download, Guacamelee! is an incredibly entertaining, visually stunning game, and the length of it will only mean you'll enjoy diving back into the crazy and chaotic life of Juan once again.

Pros: 
  • Great graphics
  • Comical themes
  • Fun action
Cons: 
  • No voice acting
  • A bit short

Playability:

9 out of 10

Replayability:

8 out of 10

Graphics:

9 out of 10

Sound:

9 out of 10

Overall:

9 out of 10
HarrieSilver | 23rd April, 2013
Kaostic's picture
I saw this when it was released - looks really good and, from what you've said, you agree! Might have to grab a copy for some co-op play.

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