- Format: PS4 (version reviewed), Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U
- Unleashed: Out Now
- Publisher: Drinkbox/Activision
- Developer: Drinkbox Studios
- Players: 1-2
- Site: http://guacamelee.com/
Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition is a reworked and tweaked version of last year’s Guacamelee!. It contains all the DLC from the original, along with extra areas to explore, new enemies and a brand new boss fight. The gameplay has also been tweaked, and the player is given extra abilities to use on their quest. But does this new version warrant a purchase if you’ve already played the original?
If you’ve never played Guacamelee! before, the game is a gorgeous 2D platform brawler that is clearly influenced by the original Metroid and the folklore and culture of Mexico. You play the role of Juan Aguacate, a farmer turned Luchador, who takes on the evil skeletal Carlos Calaca, master of the dead, and his minions in a quest to rescue El Presidente’s daughter, and literally kick the dark forces back to where they came from. Things don’t go too well for Juan at the start of the game, and he is killed by Calaca, only to be reincarnated as a masked superhero with a thirst for vengeance.
Juan has a selection of basic brawling moves that can be expanded with some grappling attacks on stunned foes, to dish out big damage. You can also pick up and throw stunned enemies at groups of minions, which is handy when you are up against it. Defeating your foes earns you coins which can be spent at altars dotted throughout the levels. These can be used to buy new abilities or to increase Juan’s health and stamina bars, and also to buy new costumes to customise your hero.
As you progress through the game, there are various Choozo statues scattered around that have been hidden by an old man who is disguised as a goat. Yes, an old man disguised as a goat. These statues can be broken (much to the dismay of the old man) and each give Juan a new power. These powers can be used to create powerful combos, or break down brick barriers as well as enemy shields. The Rooster Uppercut, for instance, gives off a red glow when performed. It can be used to destroy red bricks and red enemy shields. This colour coding is also used with other powers, so you know what move to use where and when. You can also unlock double jumps, wall jumping and Polo Power, which turns you into a chicken, so you can access small tunnels. Perhaps the most interesting power is the ability to transport yourself between the land of the living and the land of the dead. This opens up some very interesting puzzles where you have to swiftly change from one dimension to the next, as a barrier or deathtrap is only present in one of the dimensions. This is also the same for enemies; as some of them appear as shadows in one dimension and are impervious to your attacks, which means you have to change to the alternate dimension in order to give them a beating. Some of them can be quite a test of your reactions – and the old grey matter – and it’s extremely satisfying when you manage to complete them.
The game contains a number of humorous homages to various gaming icons. There are posters dotted around the levels that are nods at games like Super Mario Bros, Megaman, Minecraft, Zelda and many more. Mario also gets a pleasing musical homage in the Great Temple, when the music changes to a well known riff of the series. Indeed the game has a lot of funny moments, and the new boss El Trio De La Muerte is both humorously designed and well integrated into the story. Another change worth mentioning is the addition of INTENSO! mode. This adds another bar below your health and special ability bars, which when fully charged lets Juan unleash a barrage of blows for a short period of time. This makes the combat much more frenetic, and less nuanced, but it is only used sparingly as the bar decreases rapidly if you take hits and struggle to keep your combos going.
Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition is a fantastic upgrade to an already great game. It is a stunning game to look at, with bright colourful graphics which are beautifully animated, and some of the larger enemies are quite stunning to behold. The soundtrack is also fantastic with catchy mariachi band tunes that become haunting and surreal when you flit into the world of the dead. The puzzles and platforming are well designed and the combat works well; although it can get quite repetitive later on in the game, when you are fighting wave after wave of enemies you have faced before. The new elite enemy class is also quite frustrating to fight, as they teleport around the level when their health gauge is low. The new levels and boss battle are well integrated into the new game, and the new INTENSO power is a welcome addition. If you’ve not played Guacamelee!, the Super Turbo Championship Edition is the version to buy – but even if you have played it already it’s well worth playing again if you have just upgraded to the next gen consoles.