Gaucamelee was one of my favorite games of 2013. In addition to presenting a refreshing Metroidvania world worth exploring, it also had a solid combat system as well as some incredibly unique art.
It was a ton of fun, and it was clear after completing it for the first time that developer Drinkbox Studios wasn't done with protagonist Juan's tale. In addition to a few pieces of DLC scattered about the past year, Guacamelee Super Turbo Championship Edition is upon us, with a host of updates, tweaks, and never-seen-before content.
Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition (PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One [tested], Wii U)
Developer: Drinkbox Studios
Publisher: Drinkbox Studios
Released: July 1, 2014 (PS4) / July 2, 2014 (Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U)
First off, the same core combat system and great level design are intact. I didn't expect aerial rave combos, frame-perfect dodging from an indie platformer, but I got it, and everything from fighting to exploration still feels excellent. But enough gushing over the original -- you can read more about what makes Gaucamelee so great in our review.
So what's new? Well with the STCE you're getting roughly 30% extra in terms of content. Point blank, you're going to nab a few new abilities, two new levels, all prior DLC (purchased in-game with silver coins), and a new boss. The crux of the package is clearly the two stages, including the beautiful Canal de las Flores area, and the volcanic Pico de Gallo.
Both of these new stages flow perfectly within the confines of the game, and actually have a point to them gameplay-wise and in terms of the story (Pico de Gallo is less pertinent, but contains clever uses of the dimension shift mechanic). You also get a new town with a few sidequests, as well as a brief glimpse into more of co-op partner Tostada's backstory -- who you can now play as in single-player mode.
In other words, these new areas don't feel tacked on, and have their own unique concepts to go with them. The new boss (El Trio de la Muerte) is not a game-changer (or particularly challenging) but he is unique, and is cleverly inserted into most of Guacamelee's cutscenes, slinking in fashionably late. He also drops a few Kickstarter jokes and helps to explain why there are so many skeletons wandering the game's world. Like the new stages, his oddball design of three skeletons melded into one character feels true to Guacamlee's theme.
Although two of the new powers don't really feel required or particularly impactful (Pollo Bombs just feel like a chore when accessing new areas and you won't use Shadow Swap all that much), the added Rage of the Gods mechanic (called "Intenso" here) does fundamentally change the game quite a bit. Like God of War (or a lot of other action games), you now have a third bar that steadily increases over time, that allows you to press both analog sticks to change forms and do more damage.
Now, players who are having trouble on particular boss fights can blow their superpower whenever they want, and get a leg up on some of the tougher encounters. Likewise, other players can just choose to ignore it. Another added benefit of Intenso is that it's another thing to sink your gold into -- since it can be upgraded in three different ways from the shop. Again, it feels naturally added to the game and not shoehorned in.
There are also a few smaller tweaks like health bars now showing up above enemy models, new enemies (like the elite skeletons that can teleport) three save files (in case you don't want to overwrite a particular run), and the ability to buy DLC costumes using the in-game silver currency, which is now given out after clearing each challenge room.
I would have liked to have seen more costumes (like platform-specific ones such as Samus or Link on Wii U), but the good news is the included outfits aren't simply cosmetic -- they change your stats and gameplay a bit. Just as a side note, there is no Cross compatibility between the old versions of the game, including the Vita -- there is also no PS3 release for Super Turbo.
The Super Turbo Championship Edition moniker hasn't taken away (or subsequently, screwed up) anything about the original game, so it's up to you to decide whether or not all of the above content is worth another purchase. If you have Xbox Live Gold, go ahead and grab it right now for free (only on Xbox One though). Everyone else who has ever enjoyed a 2D brawler or platformer in their life -- grab it as well.