Guacamelee! Gold Edition Review
PlayStation gamers have been enjoying Guacamelee! for awhile, and PC gamers are finally getting their chance to test their platforming and brawling skills with this luchador-inspired side-scroller. As an added bonus to those without a PS3 and/or Vita or to those who decided to wait, the PC release comes in the form of a Gold Edition, complete with all of the paid DLC that was released on the PlayStation Network as well as some modding tools that are exclusive to the PC version.
As our story opens, the poor agave farmer Juan Aquacave is in his local village of Pueblucho when he has a chance reunion with the mayor's daughter, his childhood sweetheart. Unfortunately, this reunion is short-lived as the undead demon Carlos Calaca suddenly appears and wreaks havoc on the village. When he tries to kidnap the mayor's daughter Juan heroically attempts to stop him, but this goes badly, to say the least, and Juan is quickly killed by Calaca. Fortunately, the story doesn't end there, though. Soon after arriving in the underworld, Juan is given a magical luchador mask by a mysterious goat man. Not only does this mask give him some leet luchador brawling skills, it allows him to return to the land of the living so that he can rescue his love and take his revenge on Calaca.
Pursuing those goals will take you back and forth across Guacamelee!'s expansive and platform-filled 2D levels as you fight Calaca's skeletal minions and master the skills it will take to succeed. The levels in Guacamelee! all have a great, colorful cartoon look to them and are filled with charm and plenty of humorous touches. As in many classic games of this type, you'll come across different types of barriers that will remain closed to you until you acquire the necessary skill to get past them. Part of the fun certainly comes from returning to areas where you found a certain type of barrier on a previous visit and opening a secret room or a new area.
While you certainly won't be able to finish the game without mastering your platforming moves, the game's primary focus is on brawling. Your continuously evolving set of attacks and combos in combination with fast-paced action and super-tight control make the brawling a blast. I wish there was a greater variety of enemies in the game, but the ever-changing battlefields and periodic multi-wave challenge rooms manage to keep things interesting.
The game supports co-op play, but the two player game is essentially the single player game played with two players. Fighting your way through skeletal armies is certainly easier with an ally at your side, but there aren't co-op specific puzzles or anything like that in the game.
You'll probably find that the game ends a little too soon, but the included DLC will extend your time with the game as long as you're fine with a series of challenge stages, both platforming speed runs and combat trials, rather than a new chapter in the story. If you have a copy of Adobe Flash tools on your PC, you'll also be able to make use of the game's skin modding tools to create your own luchador costume masterpiece. If not, you can always download the creations of those who do.
On the whole, I have to say that I really enjoyed playing Guacamelee!. Its challenging and exciting brawling action is backed with a unique style and sense of humor, making it easy to recommend.
Final Rating: 90%. Pass the chips and press start!