Guacamelee! Unfinished

Guacamelee! Unfinished

Scrolling through my PS4 library, looking for a short indie game, I came across Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition which I had acquired from PlayStation Plus games of the month last year in May. I had not heard anything about this game except that the first release had fantastic reviews. To be honest, the only reason I added this game to my library was because of the very colourful front cover artwork. So I finally decided to download and install it on the machine for a bit of co-op fun with AlexJaq.

After a super quick install, I jumped straight into the intro scenes and tutorial, impressed by the entertaining dialogue, and amazing art style. Once this was completed, co-op became available. We were both surprised by how well the co-op system worked in Guacamelee!. I have not had many experiences with the platform action/fighting genre before, but this game sure is spot on.

Developed by DrinkBox StudiosGuacamelee! was originally released in April 2013, then a complete edition including all DLC for PS4 in 2014. This action platformer was inspired by traditional Mexican culture and lore in regards to art style, story, and gameplay. The main playable character, Juan, has gone on a mission to rescue the El Presidente’s daughter from the evil skeleton Carlos Calaca who attacked the village and kidnapped her. I found all main characters to be engaging and unique; some charming, and some hilariously idiotic.

Alomora64 blog Guacamelee! exceptional dialogue
Carlos Calaca's jealous ex-girlfriend, X'Tabay. Definitely my favourite character who has exceptional dialogue.

The first two hours of our play through focused on story and world building. Something I was grateful for was how simple the controls and move sets were at the beginning. It did not take long to get the hang of how to play. However it did take long to discover new moves, quickly getting bored of doing the same thing over and over. By the end though, we had enough to keep us entertained, but this also made combat and puzzles much more complicated.

One of the most intriguing mechanics in Guacamelee! is being able to change the scene from the undead world to the living and vice versa instantaneously. This made figuring out area puzzles highly enjoyable, which soon became my favourite thing about the game. The most challenging, and in turn satisfying puzzles were the secret / optional rooms that contained treasure chests. These challenges at times actually made my head pound from the amount of concentration and coordination required to succeed. It sure was helpful with two minds taking on the one task though.

Alomora64 australian gaming blog Guacamelee! exceptional art design
Just some of the impressive artwork seen throughout the levels.

Even though there a lot of aspects of this game that I love, I could put no more than an hour of my time into it at once. These short bursts of play were because of the frustrating battles of random enemy wave after wave which only made Alex and I ready to see the end. It finally came down to what I believe was the last objective to catch up to Calaca and the last boss fight. The game decided to take us on detour after detour, with a ridiculous amount of pointless fighting with hardly any dialogue in between. Unfortunately what sold me out was how disinterested I became in the story as the length between each milestone grew longer and longer. The pace of Guacamelee! felt all wrong.

I know we got very close to the ending, and was probably cheap to give up right before, but when a game starts to feel like a chore to finish, that's when you know you have had enough. I'm sure after I've forgotten all my frustration I will go back to finish it, but that may be a while.

Image credit: guacamelee.com

26 Jan 2016 9:57 AMBrittany Mitchell