Guacamelee! PS Vita/PS3 Review
Publisher: DrinkBox Studios
Developer: DrinkBox Studios
Release Date: April 9, 2013
System: PS3 and PS Vita
Guacamelee is a quirky yet aptly named title from DrinkBox Studios. The south of the border locales and luchador inspired combat combine to monopolize on the oft-neglected Mexico-mbat genre. While you’ll most assuredly see the influences of Metroid and Castlevania, Guacamelee is equal parts homage and next-gen. As a downloadable-only title this is yet another example of the privileges afforded to studios that skip retail. Let’s take a dip in this Guacamelee before it gets old. (You see what I did there?)
Immediately what you notice about Guacamelee (from this point forward Guacamelee, as it is a one word title I can see no justifiable way to abbreviate it but it is a long word that I often type incorrectly…moving on) is the Mexican flavor that the art style produces. You almost wanna make some non-alcoholic margaritas and put on Telemundo in the background.
The fact that everyone speaks English is either a sign that we Americans are much loved in Latin countries or a clever way the developers chose to trick gringos into thinking they know Spanish. Further research may be required before I draw a conclusion.
In Guacamelee you play the role of Juan, an agave farmer. Juan meets his demise at the hands of Carlos Calaca but is later revived, finds a magical luchador mask and becomes an el bad-ass. In a quest to rescue his love interest, Juan encounters Calaca’s minions and attains new powers along the way to reach his goal. I could flesh-out the story a bit more but DrinkBox didn’t bother, why should I?
This game would not have worked as great if the music didn’t match the visuals. Thankfully DrinkBox nailed it and there really isn’t much more to say…just check out the screenshots for proof.
One thing for sure, you’re gonna do a lot of wrestling in Guacamelee. Fortunately this is where the title truly shines. In the beginning it can seem incredibly simple but as you progress you begin to learn and unlock new moves and mechanics. Before you know it you’re on your way to busting-out mad combos and living la vida choke-a!
A brilliant design element that is linked to combat is the colors associated with special moves. The uppercut for example is red, this lets the player know that the uppercut is both used to dispatch enemies protected by a red barrier and to break red blocks that may be impeding progress.
Throughout the open-world design you’ll find yourself progressing and backtracking to different colored boulders that correspond to new special moves and abilities you’ve unlocked. The combination of combat and the use of clever design elements will undoubtably outshine the already welcoming art style moody Mexican musica.
What you should know about this title is there are areas where you’ll be stuck. Its possible you might not have the correct skill to progress or it could be that you don’t have the necessary skill to use the skills you’ve acquired.
Combat is fun, the enemies are memorable and the open-world design paired with the in-game map work well to aid those that must find everything. The biggest gripe shared by many is that its too short. Guacamelee can be finished in under 6 hours and probably around 10 hours total to find everything. However, for $15 just compare this to retail titles with comparable campaigns.
DrinkBox has once again delivered a title worthy of praise. Guacamelee is a standout addition to any gamers digital collection and it is available now. The cross-save feature allows game saves to be shared between the Vita and PS3 and while playing on the PS3, the Vita can be used as a map (Wow!). Two players can play together on the PS3 version as well but the Vita version is easier to dip in actual guacamole.
+ Classic gameplay with a lime twist
+ Fun Combat
+ Great music, design and art style
- Short but you get what you paid for