Humble Indie Bundle 11 ReviewGuest_Jim_* - February 24, 2014
» Discuss this article (4)
Guacamelee! Gold Edition:
You must hate it when your childhood friend is abducted by an evil skeleton and on your first attempt to free her you are killed instantly. Fortunately if you are Juan in Guacamelee!, death is not very permanent, as soon a luchador mask reveals itself to you, in the world of the dead, and putting it on resurrects you. Now you have to use your strength and the skills you learn to rescue your friend.
On first blush, Guacamelee! would just seem to be a platforming brawler, but the action is deeper than that, with the various combos available to you. Also a dimension switching mechanic adds to it as some enemies may only be assailable in one dimension, though they can hurt you in either. The switching mechanic also helps make the puzzles more interesting. However at times it can make the platforming challenges feel very contrived.
The combat is not always very fun, sadly. A primary reason why is how limited health is, as the only way you can regain health in combat is by killing enemies. When a number of them are invulnerable because they are in a different dimension though, you are in trouble. Also you do not appear to get much health for the kills. At least it never felt like much to me in fights I was having trouble with. Of course the giant enemies that can one or two-shot you are not much fun either, especially as they are not without friends. It is possible to dodge attacks, but when facing a group of enemies, dodging one means you cannot attack any, and once you are out of the dodge, you can be attacked by another. Really it felt like button-mashing attacks and only dodging when contextually necessary was the best strategy.
Guacamelee! also features some adventuring to it as side quests can pull you away from your primary task, and exploration can prove rewarding as you find hidden chests. In some areas you will find references to other games, and not subtle ones either. This gives the already somewhat-ridiculous game some more tongue-in-cheek humor.
The graphics are very stylized with straight lines and hard edges, but this helps the different visual elements pop. The soundtrack is a mix of techno and Mexican music, which is fitting of the fantasy story.
Guacamelee! is best played on a controller, and by 'best played' I mean I feel a little sorry for someone trying to play it with only a keyboard. It has definitely been designed with the button layout of a controller and not the key layout of a keyboard. I suspect some controllers are going to be better for this game than others, though. For example, to get to high places you have to jump and use a special attack, activated by pressing up and another button. If you also have to move horizontally though, then you have to press to move in that direction and quickly shift to pressing up for the combo. Doable, but it makes timing tricky. It would likely be easier for a controller with four discrete directional buttons, instead of mine that has a directional pad, or one with a joystick. Failing to align the pad or joystick will cause the special attack to fail as well.
Is Guacamelee! Gold Edition something to buy the bundle for? If you enjoy games like this, then definitely. It has a good humor and I can definitely see people enjoying it immensely. Personally I am not fan of this game type, so I doubt I will be in it again, but that is more a comment on myself than the game.