Guacamelee! – Review (Vita)

Guacamelee Main

Guacamelee! harks back to an older generation of gaming – not only with a similar style to the old Metroid games but also with a level of difficulty (on Normal) that is a strong challenge at times.

The game tells the story of Juan, a farmer who dreams of being a luchador but has never got anywhere near his goal. When the President’s daughter is kidnapped by an evil skeleton named Carlos Calaca, Juan sets off to rescue her.

Soon he has inherited a luchador mask which gives him powers that can help him on his way. You don’t have all of these powers to begin with though, you will need to earn them as you progress through the game.

Juan’s mask gives him a lot of wrestling moves that can be used to take out opponents, ranging from punch attacks right through to Suplexes and Piledrivers. You can string basic moves together fairly easily but to really master the combo moves takes a lot of practice (or at least it did for me).

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The biggest power you’ll use is Juan’s ability to switch between the living world and the dead world, which brings some interesting mechanics into play. For example you might need to jump off the platform you’re on and switch to the other world before you land so that the next platform appears. This leads to some challenging, and frustrating, moments because you really do need to get the timing perfect to beat these sections.

Enemies also use this mechanic so there might be four enemies on screen but two of them might be in the living world and two in the dead world. You’ll need to switch between the two worlds as you fight, which is cool and keeps things interesting. Items or enemies in the other world are shadowed out so you can plan your strategy accordingly.

Graphically Guacamelee! is stunning. I loved the cartoon style and it looks super sharp on the Vita’s OLED screen. With lots of vibrant colours and interesting character design, this is a game that delivers on style. It has a great sense of humour and contains a host of in-jokes for the gaming community.

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You can tell a lot of love has gone into making Guacamelee! and the game is a fantastic addition to the Vita line up. It’s available on PS3 as well (on Cross-Buy, so whichever version you buy you get both) so if you don’t have a Vita you can still check it out. Be warned though, Guacamelee is no push over and you will need skill and patience to make it through to the end of the game.

Rating: 8/10

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