Guacamelee: Gold Edition Steam Review

As great as this Gold Edition is, there is a new Super Turbo Championship Edition. So why bother getting this version when they’re the same price?

Guacamelee is a joy to play platforming beat’em up done in a Metroidvania style with a lot of flair and fresh ideas for an old genre. The combat is excellent. Easy to play, tough to master. Attack button, special attack, roll trigger and jump are the basics you need to know. You can uppercut enemies into the air, jump and punch them, roll through enemy attacks and hazards, grapple enemies to throw them in any direction you want. There is good stuff here. Then as the game progresses, you unlock special moves, like jumping uppercuts, wall jumps, double jumps, headbutts, frog stomps, wall climbs where you shoot yourself straight until something stops you. All of this is considered combat, but in Guacamelee it is also a means of traversing. Jump uppercut will let you break red walls or its used as an extra boost while in mid air. Now just that, but the game’s enemies will eventually have shields that can only be broken by special attacks. The shields are all color coated, such as jumping uppercuts break red walls and red shields. Yellow shields and walls are broken by headbutts and so on. Then on top of that there’s an extra layer of day and night worlds or living and dead worlds. You flip through them to traverse or take out enemies that can only take damage in the living or day. They still hit you if you’re not in their world, but you just can’t hit them.

Each world full of bright, vibrant and beautiful colors. The game is a joy to look at as well as play. Great simple story, the president’s daughter has been kidnapped and you are killed, but resurrected by a luchadore mask. Everything has a lucha Mexican vibe to it and that makes the game feel so fresh and different instead of space worlds or never ending castles. The world isn’t that big and really it feels like there are a few specific combat areas tied together by a major town. There’s no real chance to get lost, since you have a map and the map will always point you to your objective, without revealing rooms that you’ve been in.

While the combat is easy and joyful enough, the game really starts getting tricky with your powers. Such as having to wall jump back and forth all while switching between the living and dead worlds. Timing plays a big part in the later areas. There are plenty of side rooms with parts of heart and stamina containers that will really test your skills and timing, but since there are frequent easy challenges, it makes the big challenges seem less daunting and have a ‘one more try’ mentality.

I have completed the game on PSN and it seems like the Gold Edition on Steam is just easier when it comes to bosses. The bosses are simpler and I can’t say that’s a bad thing. Maybe its because there is no difficulty setting for the Gold Edition. Steam also offers character skins in the Steam Workshop, which is always nice.

On PSN I completed the game in 4 or so hours and that’s when it was more difficult. That might not be enough play time in some people’s opinion, but it was an absolute joy to play and well worth the time and money. I’d much rather have a game be short and sweet than long and boring.

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