hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Metroidvania-brawler Guacamelee! is guacamazing

10:30 AM on 03.15.2013 // Steven Hansen

Holy Guacamelee, Batman! Este juego es muy bueno.

One of my favorite parts about Mexican cuisine is its cohesiveness. It's a property found in all my favorite types of foods: Italian, Chinese, etc. You take a swath of semi-disparate elements, tie them together with a sauce, and boom; you have an enormous meal you can gobble down in matrimonial mouthful. Just take guacamole, for example. Five or six ingredients plus spices come together to form a more perfect union, resulting in one cohesive dip so powerful Burt Ward's Robin exalted it in the 1960's Batman TV series.

DrinkBox Studio's (Tales from Space: Mutant Blob Attacks) Mexican flavored, Metroidvania-inspired brawler takes from its namesake an amalgam of loved elements and throws them together in a comprehensive, delectable dish.

There’s even a wise, angry, magical goat man. Also, you can turn into a chicken. At will.

(PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita)

Developer: DrinkBox Studios
Publisher: DrinkBox Studios
Release: Spring 2013

Juan, a down on his luck agave farmer living in a shanty, is the misfit star of DrinkBox's new title. As some element of fortune would have it, Juan becomes imbued with the awesome powers of a luchador. Just in time, too, as El Presidente's daughter, whom Juan has been crushing on since boyhood, has recently been kidnapped. Are you a bad enough hombre to save her?

It's the tired damsel in distress premise, admittedly, but the game wears its old school influence on its sleeve. It draws from the "Metroid-vania" well, which means expansive maps filled to the brim with secret offshoots and alcoves, many of which are inaccessible without the right moves. Plus, I lost any sort of glazed over "been there, done that" derision once I saw the game in motion. The art style is just too charming, featuring tightly angular geometry reminiscent of paper craft, and bold, solid colors. I particularly love the minimal, angular effects that the power moves give off.

Where Guacamelee starts putting its spin on the Metroid-vania formula is with its heavy combat orientation. Often you'll be locked in rooms and have to dispatch waves of enemies to progress. There are even combat challenge rooms. As soon as I started playing, I could see why: the combat is a blast. The impressive, fluid animations decorate a clinical, precise action game. Different power moves, which are unlocked during progression, are mapped to the circle button, while square allows for regular attacks, and triangle for contextual moves like the invaluable throw.

Those wanting to max out there money yields can try to string together a higher and higher combo by linking up to three regular attacks with stamina-restricted power moves and throws. Throws are particularly fun, but also incredibly useful, as enemies can be thrown into their cohorts, stunning them and proving you valuable breathing room. There's also an equally useful dodge mechanic, mapped to the right stick, which can dodge everything but fire attacks. You'll need it.

In my brief hands-on I encountered an impressive array of baddies that required different means of dispatching, keeping things engaging and taut. My favorites were definitely the bleached-white skeletons in yellow ponchos and sombreros that reminded me of Death in Adventure Time. They're tough, fast buggers. Even a few different enemies on screen can pose a challenge, especially when they're split between planes of existence.

Key to Guacamelee is the World of the Dead, from which the enemies originate, which draws heavily from Día de los Muertos, the “Day of the Dead.” Initially, accessing portals will switch between the worlds of the dead and living, but eventually you'll unlock the ability to do so manually. This in turn opens up new wrinkles in the gameplay. Certain areas which might’ve proven previously inaccessible can be accessed and the mechanic also allows for some exciting, precise platforming, as the worlds of life and death have different platforms.

The mechanic can also lead to some anger-inducing grieving, as the title allows seamless, drop-in/drop-out two player local co-op. I only tried combat sections co-op -- enemies will scale to take a bit more damage -- so I’m not sure how the precision platforming will be tested with a friend, but beating things up in tandem was a blast, especially when you link throws together to add insult to injury. I was also quite partial to the female luchador who serves as Player 2, though I think that can be said about most of the character design and enviable animation work.

One cool addition is the ability to use the Vita as a controller for the PS3 version of the game. It can be used in a tandem with a PS3 controller for those who have a friend, but only one DualShock 3. It can even be used solo, with the added bonus of having the map displayed on the Vita’s screen at all times. This could prove invaluable for completionists aiming to explore every nook and cranny, eliminating the wasteful opening and closing of the map via select while playing with a PS3 controller. Being a completionist in this instance may just be well worth it, too. DrinkBox’s Chris McQuinn furtively hinted that the chicken’s abilities get better the more of a completionist you are, so perhaps some mad chicken powers wait at the end of the rainbow. Also a Hard Mode.

Guacamelee is releasing simultaneously for PS3 and PS Vita and will feature cross saves between the two systems. No word yet on whether the game will be cross buy. DrinkBox and Sony’s Pub Fund partnership doesn’t mention cross buy contractually, so the details there are still being hammered away. Otherwise, those itching to get a spicy taste of the game can check it out at PAX East.

Photo Gallery: (17 images)
Click to zoom - browse by swipe, or use arrow keys

Steven Hansen, Features Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure dtoidsteven Tips
Steven watches anime & sports, buys meat out of trucks, dates a Muppet, and is only good at cooking. He stands before you bereft of solace and well on the road to perdition. ('^ω^) more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

Halflocke avatarHalflocke
Underhero a 2d side scrolling rpg on indie gogo
extatix avatarextatix
Heading off to Spiel in a bit. A whole lot of games there, just of the cardboard variety. I love me some board games.
absolutfreak avatarabsolutfreak
Finally finished The Witcher 3. Definitely one of the best games I've played in my 30 years or so of gaming. Now onward to Ground Zeroes/Phantom Pain.
Nathan D avatarNathan D
*playing an old ps1 game* "START and SELECT don't bring the menu up?! WELL WHAT THE FU-oh, it's Triangle..."
TheDefenestrator avatarTheDefenestrator
If anyone's playing Marvel Puzzle Quest (any platform) you should join my Alliance, RedRightHand, and help me kick some Galactus butt for their second anniversary event. (Please?)
Shinta avatarShinta
MGS Online Day 3. I have 3 character up to level 10 now, one in each class. They're all pretty handy, but I do miss the scout's mark speed the most on other classes.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
The SW: Battlefront is pretty and has great sound design, but the gameplay is so shallow and has seemingly no depth! If the full game is like this I will be disappointed.
Torchman avatarTorchman
*looks at Amazon preorder* This one's for you Chib'
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
Dear Playboy: Love your video game coverage, but how about you start making some topless unboxing videos? Seeing someone unwrap a copy of Call of Duty is boring. Seeing a topless Playmate unwrap a copy of anything is awesome!
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
In happier news, Level-5 is already talking Yo-Kai Watch 2's Western release, and better/worse yet, they're considering amiibo support for the series! And hey, if they can't get Jibanyan into Smash, that'd be one way to get the West's attention.
gajknight avatargajknight
I drank a glass of Ovaltine for the first time in years today. It was nice. Like drinking a glass of my childhood, complete with ignorance, embarrassing angst, tears (so many tears) and night terrors. Ah, the good 'ol days.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
[img][/img] This is just depressing. Digital classics on consoles are such a great idea, but it's like not a single company wants to really go through with it.
StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
My heart will always be yours, Papyrus #2spoopy4me
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
I recently beat Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow again, but this time I played on Hard mode from scratch. Outside of dying a few times due to me being an idiot, and enemies hitting harder, it was actually easy. Like really easy.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Today I replated bacteria that I made take up a plamid hopefully stitched onto the genes generatlight. Taken from other dead bacteria and put into a non glowing species, to make it glow. Fucking microbiology is the best.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
It seems fairy farts are a fragrance, a soap, incense, a vaping liquid and a kind of nail polish. I'm clearly in the wrong line of work and need to eat more chili.
Cannibal Steven avatarCannibal Steven
"You gave the Lost Soul a big smile, like you remember she likes to do... For some reason she sort of wants to smile back..." I'm not crying. Not one bit.
ChrisHannard avatarChrisHannard
Just tried 'The Last Of Us' on PSNow Trial, only to be told... 'Something went wrong. Try again.' Game-appropriate error message or quickie plot-summary?
TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
I hate when people say crap like "I admit that [thing] in games is problematic, but I still enjoy it" because it's an underhanded way of contradicting your own views while convincing yourself that you aren't a hypocrite.
ChillyBilly avatarChillyBilly
Well shit. I knew I was more than likely going to enjoy Star Wars Battlefront (cause you know, giant Star Wars nerd and all) but holy cow, the beta is fucking great! I need the full game like, now.
more quickposts


destructoid's previous coverage:

  Jan 14

El Bundle Fantástico de Guacamelee! está en PSN ahora

If you don't already own it, now is a good time to get it

  Jul 31

Guacamelee: Gold Edition comes to Steam on August 8

Get a free game if you purchase week of release

  Apr 09

Review: Guacamelee!

Action figures, monsters, and Metroid, ole!

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -