12 cert, Drinkbox Studios, P3N (also PS Vita) There’s a lot to love about Guacamelee. From its colourful stylised graphics to the completely ridiculous storyline, it’s one of those games that almost slips under the radar, but when you discover it, you’re glad it didn’t.
Meet Juan, a humble farmer who has just met an untimely end at the hands of an evil skeleton. Kind of puts a kink in your week, doesn’t it? Luckily, there’s a magical mask that will not only revive Juan, but give him superpowers so he can track down the bad guys and save the girl (there’s always a girl). In this case, it happens to be the daughter of El Presidente. When Juan dreams, he dreams big, it seems.
So the scene is set, and all to an atmospheric Mexicanthemed soundtrack. Juan earns new powers to help him take on the skeleton and his band on ne’er-do-wells, shifting between the world of the living and the dead. It’s the only game I can remember where turning yourself into a chicken is a desirable thing.
Combat takes a bit of getting used to. Because you need to build up your moves, it feels a bit off at first. But once you’ve got the odd flaming uppercut or two in your repertoire, it all changes.
Unlike other games, cut scenes aren’t something you’ll desperately try to skip – they’re largely kept mercifully brief – and they deliver the necessary information effectively.
If there’s any criticism to be levelled at Guacamelee, it’s that it’s over too soon. But the ability to go back and try certain challenges again, with a new set of skills and powers, ekes out a bit more replay value.