GUA­CAMELEE! 2

Grip­ping grap­pler throws out a smash­ing se­quel

XBox: The Official Magazine - - CONTENTS - Dave Meik­le­ham

Are you par­tial to a slice of avo­cado toast, gen­tle reader? Won­der­ful! Then you’re go­ing to adore this plat­form­ing/ puz­zle hy­brid. With a plot that re­volves around a de­ity who is des­per­ate to keep his an­cient and sa­cred gua­camole recipe se­cret, this 2D in­die ad­ven­ture’s premise is as in­trigu­ing as its de­light­fully off­beat ac­tion.

Fol­low­ing on from the 2013 orig­i­nal, Gua­camelee! 2 once again places you in the su­plex­ing san­dals of Juan Agua­cate. Over the course of a de­lib­er­ated, sim­pli­fied in­tro, this se­quel re­counts the end of the last game in charm­ing, ex­tra easy style. Fast for­ward seven years, and the now pot-bel­lied Juan finds the pum­melling pro­ceed­ings much more dif­fi­cult.

Even in its chal­leng­ing mo­ments, DrinkBox Stu­dios’ ad­ven­ture is rarely any­thing less than a de­light. From a won­der­ful Limbo trib­ute that will have arachno­phobes cow­er­ing, to a cast of bril­liantly scripted char­ac­ters who just want to in­spire the in­ner Rey Mys­te­rio of Juan’s ass-kick­ing self, Gua­camelee! 2’ s style and sense of self over­flows at ev­ery op­por­tu­nity.

Juan and only

Re­gard­less of whether you own an Xbox One X or the reg­u­lar Xbox One, this is a stun­ning videogame. With a bold, in­stantly af­fa­ble art style, strik­ing colours and ef­fort­lessly charm­ing char­ac­ter de­signs, Gua­camelee! 2 proves you don’t need cut­ting-edge poly­gons to be one of the best-look­ing games on Xbox. Thanks to its sub­lime art di­rec­tion, this old-school grap­pler is one of the most gor­geous ti­tles to ever grace Team Green’s line of ma­chines.

Gua­camelee! 2 is also se­ri­ously clever. Where lesser ti­tles rest on their chokeslam­ming lau­rels, this con­stantly in­ven­tive plat­former chooses to sub­vert at ev­ery turn. With an ever-evolv­ing set of pow­ers, and a world that adapts to chal­lenge said abil­i­ties, you’ll rarely find a game that so deftly mar­ries level de­sign to the skills of your char­ac­ter.

Just like its pre­de­ces­sor, the se­quel de­lights in crunching melee com­bat. Though you start the re­al­ity-skip­ping quest with rel­a­tively few pow­ers, don’t worry – the Mex­i­can Mul­ti­verse soon opens up many body-slam­ming av­enues and Juan quickly evolves to bat­tle the evil forces fac­ing him.

Like an all-time Xbox in­die great such as Braid, Gua­camelee! 2 knows how to pace its thrills. From plat­form puz­zles that de­mand an up­per­cut­ting so­lu­tion to chal­lenges that de­mand midair tele­port­ing, this Lucha-lov­ing jaunt rel­ishes in pre­sent­ing you with con­stantly chang­ing co­nun­drums at ev­ery turn. Whether art­fully dodg­ing the at­tacks of mon­sters or up­per­cut­ting mini­bosses into obliv­ion, skirmishes in Gua­camelee! 2 are noth­ing short of slickly re­spon­sive. Be

it a se­ries of punches, throws, kicks or WWE-style wrestling holds, this en­chant­ing, deeply sar­cas­tic jour­ney proves it­self a Stone Cold Steve Austin-es­que cham­pion at most turns.

The tone is de­light­ful. Whether it’s goats turn­ing into priests or the con­stantly dis­arm­ing and sar­cas­tic script, Gua­camelee! 2 wins you over be­fore a punch or stand­ing leg-drop is ever thrown. While it isn’t as bold or fresh as the orig­i­nal, this masked se­quel still proves there’s a prom­i­nent place for in­ven­tive indies on Xbox go­ing for­ward.

Gen­eral pac­ing is also bril­liant. Fights against the ar­ray of masked mon­sters the game throws up aren’t just sat­is­fy­ing, they also play a sub­stan­tial role in Juan’s plaform­ing. An es­pe­cially ath­letic up­per­cut, a grace­ful roll and di­men­sion-hop­ping abil­i­ties make the luchador as lithe as he is lethal. With an as­sort­ment of lev­els that con­stantly evolve to chal­lenge your hero’s power­bomb­ing skills, Gua­camelee! 2 never rests on its wrestling lau­rels.

Co-flop

While most of the gen­eral ac­tion is as sat­is­fy­ing as the orig­i­nal, Juan’s fol­low-up ex­tends its reach a lit­tle too far. The ad­di­tion of four-player co-op proves messy. On your own, plat­form­ing de­mands pre­ci­sion and a sharp mind. With four folk do­ing their own thing, sur­viv­ing the game’s jump­ing chal­lenges is down­right evil.

Played solo, Gua­camelee! 2 is ex­hil­a­rat­ing. While quest mark­ers can be vague, the game’s meatand-pota­toes pum­melling never dis­ap­points. Thanks to ex­pres­sive an­i­ma­tion, and a va­ri­ety of Hulk Ho­gan-ap­ing moves, Juan’s wrestling proves to be Wrestle­Ma­nia- wor­thy. En­e­mies re­quire a chang­ing set of tac­tics and even with a full health bar and sev­eral un­locked skill tree moves, you’d be a fool to take the game’s Mex­i­can mon­sters for granted.

In spite of some mul­ti­player mishaps, Gua­camelee! 2 is a thor­oughly charm­ing game. Though not as in­ven­tive as its pre­de­ces­sor, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a pret­tier, more like­able in­die ef­fort in 2019. If you’ve got even the slight­est pas­sion for wrestling or plat­form­ing, Juan’s re­al­ity-rip­ping ad­ven­ture is close to es­sen­tial. Wrasslin’ might be fake in the real world, but when you’re con­trol­ling a ripped (if over the hill) su­plex artist, the re­sults couldn’t be more crip­plingly con­vinc­ing.

“Skirmishes in Gua­camelee! 2 are noth­ing short of slickly re­spon­sive”

left Even if you don’t dip into co-op, you can still choose from a num­ber of dif­fer­ent skins.

above In the seven years since his first ad­ven­ture, Juan has de­vel­oped a bit of a gut.

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