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Guacamelee! Review


Most reviews of this game will probably throw in some sort of cheap puns, but you won’t get that here at punkandlizard.com, no way Hombre. Dammit.

Drinkbox Studios brings us the Mexican themed Guacamelee! – a cross buy, 2D platforming brawler which leaps between genres. You play as Juan who sadly gets murdered, but is raised from the dead. He becomes a bad ass Luchador and fights to save El Presidente’s kidnapped daughter from an evil skeleton called Calaca.

The game lets you know from the get go that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. There are many in jokes and references (one joke about listening to an Adele song over and over made me laugh out loud). You will have conversations with goats. You will be able to turn yourself into a chicken. Guacamelee! is having a party in cuckoo land and you’re all invited.
As you progress through the game you’ll unlock new attack techniques such as the Frog Slam and the Rooster Uppercut. Firstly these will help you dispatch of enemies quicker than Rey Mysterio, but they’ll also help you get to new areas on the map by smashing through obstructing coloured blocks too. There are many chests to smash and side quests to find as well, all giving you coins to spend to prolong your stamina and health.

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You can also change between the land of the living and land of the dead using the right trigger button. This will enable you to get through sections that look impossible by moving walls. At times, you’ll have to flip between the two whilst jumping on to new platforms. It’s a lot harder than it sounds. If you get stuck you can hit select and view the map, which will highlight your current objective and if there is another way of getting to where you need to be. Remember when I said earlier that you can turn into a chicken? That wasn’t a typo. This actually becomes essential and will help you to exploit small cracks when your Luchador frame won’t let you. Simply tapas the touchscreen to activate. Sorry I mean tap.

The most fun in Guacamelee! though is the brawling. You’ll come up against all sorts of enemies: skeletons, dragons, flowers (no, really) and it is awesome. A few punches here and there and a triangle will show up, letting you know you can throw your enemy into a big group of attackers or into the nearest wall. At some points you’ll have so many different types of enemies trying to hurt you that you’ll have to be super quick eliminating them. If you’re successful, you’ll slowly start to realise that Guacamelee is one of the best Vita releases this year. It’s ludicrously addictive, challenging and most of all fun.

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Reviews for Guacamelee! have been universally brilliant, and rightly so. The only criticism I’ve heard is that the game is too short. Here’s why that doesn’t matter. At times Guacamelee! is brutally difficult, and certain sections will literally take you hours to get past. You’ll want to turn your PS Vita into a PS Piñata, hanging it from the ceiling while you and your blindfolded friends take swipes at it with a stick shouting “For Guac’s Sake!!!“. However, if you can get past these sections, it’s amazingly rewarding. Not forgetting all this is amidst some beautiful, Mexican culture inspired art and it’s only £9.99 for both the Vita and PS3 versions.
It may be a bold statement with heavyweights like Killzone and Tearaway arriving, but Guacamelee! is a surprise early contender for handheld game of the year.
Viva la Vita!

Punk rating – 9/10


Release Date: April 9, 2013

Genre: Platformer
Publisher: Drinkbox
Developer: Drinkbox

4 Comments

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blondlizard
May 01 2013 05:05 PM

About a week ago I got the Platinum for Guacamelee. A lot of the trophies are story based but some proved to be really difficult. A lot of our friends on Twitter have mentioned parts of the game they are having trouble with whether it be Jaguar Javier or Calaca. I had trouble with them too. For me it was really trial and error so I wanted to write down some tips which I learned which will hopefully save you tearing your hair out!

 

Jaguar Javier

 

headbutt1-300x169.jpg

 

This took me about an hour to figure out how to beat. The simple answer is HEADBUTT HEADBUTT HEADBUTT. I thought I would never beat this guy but the way to beat him is actually very simple. At the start headbutt him against the wall. He’ll then rebound back towards you. Headbutt him again. Likewise, he’ll again rebound towards you so headbutt him again. You’ll run out of stamina here so jump to the other side avoiding him. Then repeat the headbutting sequence. Do on repeat till you’ve beaten him!

Calaca

 

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Part 1
This is honestly all about rhythm. In the first section of the fight, when he goes up before he comes back down, do a double jump. It will mean you avoid his dash but will have time to see what type of shield you need to break. If it’s blue or red, go for it. If it is green don’t bother. Just wait for another chance. When you try and do a Frog Slam it takes you a while to get up after landing and he’ll hit you so don’t try! On to the second part of Calaca

 

Part 2
This seems impossible at first but is actually very simple once you figure out Calaca’s signals. If he leans back off the screen, it means he is going to fire down the middle of the screen. All you have to do here is duck. Do this using the D Pad not the stick. The stick can slip and throw you into the fire whereas the D pad won’t. If he leans back with his arms up it means you have to do a double jump. This will avoid his attacks completely. There are 2 other types of attack to avoid now. When the fire comes across the screen as an X shape, stand in the middle and don’t jump. This is a really good chance to deal Calaca some damage. Throw as many flames at him as you can but don’t jump to get them. Finally he spits these annoying orb type things out of his mouth. The way to avoid these is to double jump and to roll. If you roll it should protect you if you get hit.

 

Calaca’s signals in summary:
Calaca leans back – Duck using D pad
Calaca leans back with arms up – Double jump
Fire in an X shape across the screen – Stand in middle and don’t jump
Calaca spits at you – Double jump and roll

 

Some “You didn’t hear it from us” tips:

If you’re still struggling with the second part of Calaca, here’s a cheap exploit. Break his shield then turn yourself into a chicken. Go right over to the right hand side of the screen. For some reason Calaca will make groaning noises but won’t attack you. Simply peck away at him until he’s done!

You’ve finished the game, and you’ve now unlocked Hard Mode. The only problem is it took so much out of you the idea of playing the whole of the game on an even harder setting sounds horrendous.

Here’s what you do.

From the main menu hit new game, select hard, then back out (Use circle). Then go into the options menu then back out with circle. This forces the game to autosave. Then select continue. Once your game loads, press select. If it worked the word “hard” should appear in the upper left of the map. Go beat Calaca again and the Hard Mode trophy will pop.

After this you should only have orbs left to get. I pre warn you the difficulty spike on the Tule Tree orb is tough. The only advice I can give for the dreaded Tule Tree orb is that practice makes perfect. When you get to the top you will see so many chainsaws that it is daunting. Instead of awkwardly hopping between platforms and changing dimension at the same time, I did Goat Fly then right trigger to change dimension. I did this block by block and it worked. Here’s a video. Watch this before each section so you know what to expect before you get there:

 

S_M_Punk

I thought the hardest part of the game was platforming in the Tree Tops. 

 

Very fun game recommend everyone to play

Treetops was rough but I found the other platforming secret area worse.  I forget the name but it had disappearing platforms.  

 

The bosses I didn't find bad at all.  Just the old school pattern memorization type.  Jaguar is also much harder than Calaca.

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MainComptonese
Apr 21 2015 10:25 AM

I found the disappearing platforms on Sierra Morena more challenging than the Tree Top area. I managed to complete the Tree Top area less than an hour whereas the Sierra Morena area took much longer to do on one particular section where the disappearing ledges were too fast and short to respond in the correct jumping locations patterns via the 2nd last section. The other sections on Sierra Morena were pretty easy and had no other issues once I learned the patterns. 

 

Overall a great game, but my only complaint is the up and left or right directions can be kinda wonky where you meant to goat fly vertically, and instead you flew horizontally on the Vita.