Guacamelee (2014) Review

Guacamelee is a game that I avoided for a very long time as the advertisements never really appealed to me but now I feel a little silly that I left it for so long.

Guacamelee was developed and published by Drinkbox Studios, its a metroidvania style game based in Mexixo and was released in 2014 for the PS3, PC, PS4,PS VITA XBOX 360, XBOX ONE and the Wii U, the game was later released in 2018 for the Nintendo Switch which is the version I played.

A young Mexican named Juan is about to propose to his childhood love interest the El Presidente’s daughter, however she is unfortunately kidnapped by a Charro Skeleton named Carlos who kills Juan sending him down to the underworld, he is given a luchador mask which gives him the powers of a Mexican warrior and he is brought back to the land of the living to rescue and reunite with his true love.

As a metroidvania style game, players are immediately able to explore the majority of the large in game map and areas. In the game you can find Chozo statues which grant Juan new abilities such as wall jumping, smashing through specialist blocks, flying across large spaces and a temporary increase in strength.

Later on the ability to swap between the world of the living and the world of the dead as well turn into a chicken will allow you to platform further and explore tight areas.

There is also an in game store which allows players to purchase new costumes which each have unique advantages, you can also change characters to other in game NPC’s for new and unique ways to play. New abilities can also be bought along with health and power upgrades.

I also think it is important to make it clear that up to four players can play simultaneously in the campaign.

The visuals of the game are very impressive for what can only be considered an indie game. Im not saying that independent developers cant make beautiful visuals because in many cases indie do this better than triple A titles but there is something about Guacamelee’s style that really drew me in. The game is very well animated and during gameplay enemies look and appear in a modern cartoon style. Don’t get me wrong this not as good in visual style as a game like Cuphead but it is still very impressive.

I am lost for words on just how amazing this soundtrack is, it was composed by Rom Di Prisco and Peter Chapman, it uses a mixture of mariachi band music and remixed dance music for a beautiful collaboration which is absolutely perfect in every sense, I love every track in this game and have downloaded the official soundtrack to my phone and honestly its not often that an indie game can encourage me to do that.

Guacamelee is a massive surprise to me because I didn’t think I would like it because original trailers for the game failed to pull me in. Now I wish I did play this back in 2014 because it really is an almost perfect game, it has an decent plot, great visuals, excellent and challenging gameplay and an insanely good soundtrack. Unfortunately it does fall short of full marks for me because there are two things that really bother me about it.

The first is the side quests, there are not many in the game and they all feel a little bit pointless as they are mainly only in one or two areas of the game.

The other issue really takes away from metroidvania style this was going for because the game tells the player where they need to go for the main quest, there is no part of this game that makes you feel lost or confused which may sound like a good thing but is the polar opposite of what can considered a metroidvania style game, this feels a lot more like a 2d platformer with some secret passages and upgrades to find.

But I think if you only focus on the main quest then this is a phenomenal game its just for me I have to look at everything and its these tiny little setbacks which are going to leave Guacamelee at a 9.8/10

With that go and download this game if you haven’t played it, it really is fantastic and I am looking forward to eventually covering the sequel.

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