Guacamelee! Luchadoring at it's finest!
Metroidvanias. Luchadores. Is it a match made in heaven? Well, thanks to the fine folks at DrinkBox Studio this idea is a smash hit. Gucamelee! isn't your standard Metroidvania game. While it does have the ins and outs of the genre such as 2D side scrolling, hidden chests and of course upgrades, it also throws in a combo based brawling system. At first it'll seem as though it's lacking but as you get more abilities and head over to Combo Chicken's dojo to do tutorials you'll soon find out that it is far from that and with your special moves you unlock and the ability to grapple weaker enemies things get hectic but extremely fun in the battle arenas you stumble upon.
Guacamelee! seems to be more of a modern evolution of the Metroidvania genre. While the combat is drastically different than most of the games it's not the only more unique thing about this game, it's the story. While there are stories in most of Metroidvania games it normally takes up very little time and are far and few between, normally the beginning and end of the games, with each area really just culminating in a boss battle and you're on to the next area. Guacamelee! tries to keep pushing players through the areas in search of the dialogue and story that is constantly appearing between Juan, our hero luchadore, and Calaca and his minions. It still does have the trappings of hidden and optional rooms and turn offs giving you the option if you really want to do that jumping puzzle now or to just head onward. The dialogue between all the characters is extremely charming. You''ll be hard pressed to find one conversation where at least 1 Spanish phrase is not thrown in randomly. It actually makes you want to run around the towns talking to people to see what they say. Nothing like running across the Luchadore El baño with his toilet shaped lucha mask.
The length of the game could be considered it's one downside. Although the major thing is that the game doesn't overstay it's welcome. It doesn't linger too long on a piledriver. It keeps you moving by wanting you to get to that next arena to show off your moves or to see what insult Calaca will throw your way. Not only that but with the hidden chests and items to get and a second playthrough on Hard Mode it seems just right for the $14.99 price tag. DrinkBox Studio continues to show they know how to go and think outside the box and make charming games.
And remember there's a demo for this game up on PSN for at least the PS3. Not sure about the Vita so give it a whirl before you buy. I hope you won't be disappointed!