Over the years, a popular term has been created and used to describe a particular sub-genre of games focusing on side scrolling adventure and combat with a free roam edge added to it.
We call it “Metroidvania” thanks to the fantastic and ever popular Castlevania and Metroid franchises which started off this phenomenon. Many games have taken on this sub-genre with great success; one that sticks out amongst the crowd is Drinkbox Studio’s Guacamelee which started out on the PlayStation 3 and Vita but now, with the new and improved version comedically named Guacamelee: Super Turbo Championship Edition, it has hit all formats. Adding more areas and bosses as well as including previously released downloadable content, this version of Guacamelee is by far the best and most complete version available.
Juan Aguacate is a farmer in a Mexican village crazy in love with the daughter of El Presidente. After the village is abruptly attacked by evil skeleton, Carlos Calaca, Juan discovers that El Presidente’s daughter has been kidnapped and Juans feeble efforts to rescue her causes Juan to meet his demise. Waking in the Land of the Dead, a mysterious female luchador grants Juan a mask which grants him super strength and unmatched wrestling abilities which enables him to go get El Presidente’s daughter back. The story is fantastically portrayed and excellently written however there are no voiceovers. Guacamelee is jam packed with weirdly wonderful characters like Calaca himself being a stereotypical bad guy and one of his minions being cowboy with a flaming head and the dialogue is often funny which brings each character to life brilliantly.
The Metroidvania style gameplay fantastically mixed 2D side scrolling adventure with seamless, fast paced combat. Juan has some neat moves at his disposal like suplex’s and piledrivers as well as a satisfying Das Boot manoeuvre which sends enemies flying around the screen which can also be aimed. Sending enemies flying into one another is superb and is a key feature to surviving as the screen can be filled up with enemies. More moves as well as costumes can be unlocked by purchasing them at alters which also act as the games checkpoints. As you progress through the story, you will discover statues which must be destroyed to learn important new moves which are needed to carry on. These can range from a Shoryuken style uppercut to a double jump, all ground is covered here and it’s always nice to learn something new. New to the Super Turbo Championship edition is the Rage meter which, when filled, can be activated by clicking in the two thumb sticks. Juans Rage mode is similar to that found in most games such as Kratos’ Titan mode seen in God of War. It grants Juan more strength making his moves pack a bigger punch for a brief amount of time. Side missions are mostly fetch quests unfortunately which are an annoyance but thankfully these are entirely optional. The puzzles in the game are masterfully crafted and can be quite the challenge requiring some quick thumb skills on that controller. New to this version is two new areas to explore and a deeper back story for your female wingwoman Tostada as well as a new boss to fight. All DLC is here too like the additional costumes and the El Diablos Domain DLC which is kind of a challenge mode. Guacamelee has a unique art style which is a kind of cartoon-like similar to a show on a children’s channel. These aesthetic mashes up perfectly with the Mexican setting and the diverse, smartly designed cast of characters. Drinkbox have used every bold colour you can think of making Guacamelee easily one of the brightly coloured games I’ve ever played.
Guacamelee is one of the finest2d side scrollers I have ever played with a huge world filled with secrets to explore, unique enemy types, epic bosses and awesome, fast paced combat. The wild cast and smartly written funny dialogue makes Guacamelee accessible to all and packed with new areas, a new boss and all of the DLC means that the Super Turbo Championship Edition is the best version to buy at a surprisingly attractive price.
Graphics - 5/5
Gameplay - 5/5
Overall - 5/5
Version Reviewed - PlayStation 4