Published on August 5th, 2014 | by Dougie Wythe0
Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition Review
The re-release of DrinkBox Studios smash hit Guacamelee!, the “Super Turbo Championship Edition” offers new players the same platformer, brawler action as before but with all the optional DLC and extras included . With a striking artstyle, charismatic characters and an enjoyable playstyle, this is a title to lookout for.
The story to Guacamelee! is nothing ground breaking but offers an interesting perspective on the ‘Save the princess’ formula. You play as Juan, a Mexican farmer with a crush on El Presidente’s Daughter. Enter Carlos Calaca, an evil suit and sombrero wearing skeleton who wishes to sacrifice El Presidente’s Daughter to control the living world and the world of the dead. Our brave hero Juan is instantly killed by Calaca but gains the power of the Luchador in the world of the dead. Thus begins his quest to punch, grapple and platform his way to saving his love from the skeletal grasps of Calaca.
On road to saving El Presidente’s daughter are small towns with locals in need of your help exchange for upgrades or money. Between helping an old lady create the perfect Enchilada and chasing down a chicken thief (that’s a thief that’s a chicken, not a thief who steals chickens) I never felt I had only had the main storyline to do. The interaction with the locals is always a treat that offers funny and bizarre lines, such as the mystical goat man who’s keen to know if your mother is a single and gets more and more frustrated as you break his property.
Guacamelee! feels very much like a ‘Metroidvania’ adventure as you use newly gained abilities to venture deeper into the previously unexplored map for hidden chests containing money or ‘heart pieces’ to improve your luchador. Juan even levels up Super Metroid style; from “Choozo statues” that not only share a similar name to Metroid’s Chozo statues, but a likeness. These abilities help exploration, combat and movement alike; such as something as simple as a double jump to the “Dashing Derp Derp” special attack. Or my favourite ability that lets you transform into a chicken, much like Alucard’s wolf transformation from Symphony of the Night, to reach new areas and peck enemies to death. Combining these abilities into fighting feels very natural and easy to pick up, letting you get your combo meter even higher and performing some impressive platforming fetes.
With an extra buddy and controller, player 2 can take the role of ‘Tostada’, a lady luchador with weaker throws but amped up attacks to take on those more challenging boss battles or the floods of enemies Guacamelee! can throw at you. Thankfully, for those more taxing platforming sections, especially in the late game, your partner can ‘bubble’ themselves, much like in New Super Mario Bros, and let the burden of perfect platforming fall onto you.
Guacamelee!’s interpretation of Mexico is both vibrant and unique; a blend of simplistic designs with bright colours that befit the Dia de Muertos theme. The palate and design of the areas differ depending on whether you’re in the living or the dead world. The dead world having a befitting darker presentation of the environment of the living world. If it’s a village in the living world, it’s burned down wreckage in the dead world. The world not only looks beautiful, but is littered with a wide variety of statues and posters of references to popular culture that make it feel lived in. A handful of these include The Legend of Zelda, Journey, Batman, Final Fantasy and even throws in a fair few internet meme. These are varied enough so you won’t the same poster or statue repeatedly on your adventure. Yet, this could date the game, as most meme references, such as Grumpy Cat, will be forgotten in few years or completely lost on some players.
The music feels authentic to its location and setting: typical traditional Mexican instruments give a relaxed and docile tone that would make Juan feel right at home. The music feels more like ambiance more than something you’ll be whistling the next day yet authentic and pleasing none the less.
The unique Mexican theme and art style makes the game stand out from any other titles on the virtual store. The gameplay is easy enough to pick up and delve into, with or without a buddy, for hours on end. Even though the play time clocks in at around 7 hours, the insane challenges will keep you coming back for that gold medal and the hidden extras will have you explore every corner of the map, ensuring you get your full money’s worth. The only real criticism I can offer is the story length, taking around 6 hours to finish with a possible extra hour to find the remaining collectables and more after that to complete the included El Diablo’s Doman DLC that will test your skill in both platforming and brawling.
This is a title I can highly recommend this game for those who are a fan of the ‘Metroidvania’ and ‘beat-em up’ style games. If you’ve never tried either, or are interested, this is a great place to start and urge you to download Guacamelee! : Super Turbo Championship Edition.
Company: DrinkBox Studios
Other games: Tales From Space
Consoles; WiiU, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, Vita, Steam