GUA­CAMELEE

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FUN & GAMES - CIARA O’BRIEN

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.

More please.

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