Saturday, 24 January 2015

Guacamelee: Gold Edition

If there's one thing I love it's a good Metroid type game and Guacamelee just happens to be one of those.

The story follows the adventures of Juan who is on his way to some kind of festival in his nearby town.  When he arrives the presidents daughter gets kidnapped and Juan is killed by an evil skeleton dude called Calaca.  Juan wakes up in the world of the dead and is gifted a legendary luchador mask and is revived in order to save the presidents daughter and bring an end to Calaca's evil plans.

The story isn't exactly all that but the game play is really fun.  Like every Metroid-esque game you start with not much and as you explore the map and defeat bosses you gain access to new powers which allow you to reach new areas.  Combat involves punching skeletons in the face until the explode and you can do all sorts of fancy shit like juggle them or give them a suplex to make them explode faster.

The game play for Guacamelee really shines in it's platforming though.  The game is fast paced and controls really tightly so the platforming sections are really fun to play.  There's no unfair jumps or anything I found that one could consider bullshit so if you mess up it's YOUR fault.  The game does a good job of making you feel like a massive badass as you navigate your way through it's areas with some segments that look difficult but are actually rather simple.

I do have a few problems with this game though but none of these are enough to ruin the experience.  First, the game seems a LITTLE buggy.  When I first fired up the game after installing none of the characters or backgrounds loaded in properly but this was fixed after a restart.  There was also a problem with the frame rate where if I had the V-Sync turned on the game would run at a million frames per second and be uncontrollable. 

The combat is also a bit boring.  They make an effort by giving you all these powers that assist with creating combos and the game teaches you how to juggle enemies for days but none of the enemies are actually a threat at all and being fancy doesn't really net you any reward.  However usually after a dull combat segment you are rewarded with a fun platforming section and those alone are worth slogging through the games combat.

Also the game is really fucking easy.  There are checkpoints all over the place so if you die you don't get sent all that far back.  Falling off a ledge into an abyss just sends you back to the last piece of solid ground you were on but with no penalty.  You don't lose any health and just zip back to where you were to try again which kind of kills any tension in the platforming sometimes.   There is a challenge area that's genuinely difficult and requires you to do things under certain conditions but that's just one special area. The game also has a hard mode but this is only available after you beat the game one time so you have to play through the easefest before you can get any kind of challenge.

That said, Guacamelee: Gold Edition was a really fun game and I'd suggest anyone who is into Metroid style exploration games give it a go.  It's got a great style and plays really well and the difficulty, while I personally dislike it, is great for people new to the genre.  There is another version available on Steam that has 4 player co-op or something but I don't have any friends that want to play this stuff with me.  If you did though you'd probably have a grand old time

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