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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Pikmin 2 (2004) Review

I recommend reading my review of the original Pikmin game before reading this one.

https://ragglefragglereviews.com/2019/01/23/pikmin-2001-review/

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Pikmin 2 was the much anticipated sequel to Pikmin, it was released in 2004 for the Nintendo Gamecube, the game was also re-released on the Nintendo Wii in 2009.

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After returning to the Planet Hocotate, Captain Olimar returns to his workplace only to find that it has been hit with serious financial difficulties leaving it to be in debt.

Olimar drops a bottle cap that he brought back from the Pikmin Planet, the bottle cap was meant to be a gift for his son but it instead gets sold at a value of 100 Pokos, the President of the company recognises the value of treasures on the Planet and sends Olimar as well as Louie back to the planet to help wipe out the companies debt.

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In the game your main goal is to collect enough hidden treasures to pay off the company debt and after you have done this you must return to the Pikmin planet to collect the remaining treasures in order to unlock the canon ending to the game.

These treasures are far more fun to collect than they are in the first game because here the collectables are mostly recognisable brands which finally identifies the planet the game takes place on, the series takes place on the planet earth and in my personal opinion I believe the series takes place after the extinction of the human race which would explain the lack of human characters in the world.

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The main gameplay is essentially the same as the first game, you will need to use your Pikmin creatures to destroy enemies and bosses, solve puzzles and collect treaures. However this time you control two Captains which you can swap between to help take on bosses and enemies from different angles or to commit to multiple tasks in a similar time frame, I tend to use Louie as an assistant to Olimar, and tend to allow Louie to take the brunt of most enemies while Olimar kills them.

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This game introduces caves to the series, caves are great and are my favourite part of Pikmin 2, they each have a set number of levels each with treasures hidden on each floor, players will have to solve each floors puzzles and try to survive as well as take good care of their Pikmin. You can get major profits if you manage to complete these caves and the best part is that time is frozen in the caves so you do not need to worry about your Pikmin being devoured by the beasts of the night.

You can do more caves which are much more difficult in the challenge mode of the game.

The game does not have a time limit like the first one does so exploration and taking your time makes the adventure much more enjoyable and relaxed in my opinion.

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The game introduces two new Pikmin types the first is purple Pikmin, these guys each have the strength of 10 Pikmin’s, they are very useful for carrying heavy items and taking out stronger enemies but they are slower than the other types.

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The white Pikmin’s are creepy looking with their red eyes, these guys are very fast, can dig up buried treasures and are also poisonous so they cannot be affected by poison and if an enemy eats them they can do some major damage.

It should also be noted that the yellow Pikmin can no longer carry bombs like they could in the first game and here they are instead invulnerable to electricity.

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The boss fights are very creative and in my opinion are better here than they were in first game, you tend to fight them at the end of caves and they are really tough, you need study the boss patterns before taking Pikmin into the fight this will help you to decide what Pikmin you will need and the best way to win with minimal Pikmin loss.

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The graphics here are a little better and I think because of how many Pikmin the game allows on screen at one time, I feel that an increase of graphical capabilities would most likely cause lag so I do not really see this as a problem.

I really enjoy the soundtrack to Pikmin 2 but something about it feels a little lacking and not quite as enjoyable as the original games soundtrack, I don’t feel like a lot of these tracks do not suit the areas that they play in either but overall its still nice to listen too.

Pikmin 2 is a fantastic game, it is so much fun to play through and is extremely satisfying when you collect the treasures. The plot is hilarious and the messages that you get from your boss throughout the game are really funny. The lack of a time limit makes the game more enjoyable as you don’t feel like you have to rush through it and even while its soundtrack was not the best, everything else about the game is charming and wonderful. If you find the original game too hard or frustrating there is no harm in skipping to this one for a challenging but in my opinion much fairer experience.

8.8/10

I hope you enjoyed this review of Pikmin 2

If you would like to help support the website please use the donation button at the top of the page, your donations will help to improve the website by allowing me to afford products to review and to be able to execute any costly updates and changes, any amount in donations are welcome.

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