Released over five years ago on the PS3 and Vita, the original Guacamelee introduced a colourful Mexican art style with Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) being a large influence. But, what made Guacamelee stand out from the crowd was the intricate fighting and platforming mechanics which integrated seamlessly together. Half a decade later and a new console, has DrinkBox Studio hit it out of the park once again?
You may have forgotten how the last game ended, considering it was over five years ago that is understandable, thankfully there is a great recap mission that lasts less than a minute to get you up to speed. After saving the Mexiverse, Juan Aguacate the main luchador character has now retired and settled down with a wife and two children. The ‘dad-bod’ is also in full effect. Unfortunately, a new enemy has decided to disrupt the space time continuum and is after the secret Guacamole recipe of the ‘God of Time’ who to safeguard his recipe hid it in ‘el otromundo’. Salvador is not well and believes the sacred guacamole can heal him and give him powers. His goal is to obtain three relics to help open a portal into el otromundo. In the process he creates many rifts and instabilities in the Mexiverse and it is up to you to put the Luchador mask on once again and save the world.
The story is a bit out there, but it really isn’t the main draw for the game, despite being written quite well with lots of humour for good measure. I still wish it was voice-acted.
No longer limited to the handheld console, Guacamelee 2 is able to expand upon its rendering engine to display its vibrant art style with layered lighting and particle effects as well as normal mapped characters and environments. A truly unique look that has never been done quite to this degree and excels well beyond the predecessor.
Luchadores are well known for their combat, and Guacamelee 2 is no different. The combat is superb, but not only that, the platforming is phenomenal to boot. Both systems interplay with each other perfectly. You have to use all the unlocked moves in order to get to inaccessible locations on the Metroid-vania style map. Dash punches open up blue blocks, the uppercut allows you access to areas behind red block and so on. But this isn’t it, combining these power moves will let you jump higher. A double jump followed by an uppercut and then a dash is what you will commonly use to access areas you were not able to before. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Not only do you unlock more skills, but you can upgrade them too! You meet ‘trainers’ who will teach you new moves and then strengthen them.