Metroidvania games have become as numerous as the leaves in a tree. Two classic series with admirable gameplay? Who wouldn’t want to mash them together and try to make a game. More often than not, the game is mediocre or just plain bad. Sometimes it turns out pretty good. Rarely, the right ingredients come together to make one damn good game. Guacamelee falls in this last category. Hit the jump to see why.
The gameplay is the base which this whole thing builds off of. Everything is fluid and crisp. Once you start getting the hang of the simple controls you can string together some monster moves. After a while I started feeling like a real luchadore. Switching between dimensions is just a trigger press away. It allows you to pass above, under, around, and through obstacles in your way like solid walls and flowing lava. Some enemies can only be hit when switching between dimensions, as shown in the picture above. This can be a little tough as they both can attack you but you can only hit one of them at a time. The most impressive thing you can do is turn into a chicken. You use this most helpful of powers to navigate little corridors like Samus and her Morph Ball.
The story adds a layer of spice. There’s no way I can give justice to the strangeness of the story in this short preview so I’ll just give you a bit of what I found on the Guacamelee site. “The game features a down on his luck Mexican named Juan Aguacate, who sets out to save the world when El Presidente’s Daughter is kidnapped by an Evil Charro Skeleton.” See? If you were to tell me a year ago that this would have been the plot of a video game, I wuold have asked how much you had been drinking. Somehow, the game makes it work.
The icing on top of the cake is the game’s sense of humor. In a nod to its inspiration, you get your first upgrade from a Chozo statue. When you try to get the upgrade, it breaks and an old man/goat hybrid comes out of the rubble ad berates you for breaking his stuff. The main bad guy, Flame Face, is pretty much Yosemite Sam with a skull that’s on fire. You turn into a freaking chicken. If nothing else this will be one of the funniest games in the past few years. If you don’t want to take my word for it, how about a testimonial from Dos Equis Guy.