Check out my full review of the original Guacamelee! here.
If you’ve been following NBF for a while, you know I’m a big fan of Guacamelee!, the Metroid-vania style 2-D platformer from Drink Box Studios. The art is gorgeous and, like the game, Mexican-themed. The main characters, Juan and Tostada, are both luchadores, so you know I loved the diversity. I was actually just wishing the game was on PS4 the other day.
As if they heard my prayers, Drink Box has released Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition, a souped-up version of Guacamelee! for the PS4, Wii U, 360, and Xbox One. The game is currently available for $14.99, and for just a little cheaper if you’re a PS Plus member.
First, for anyone a little younger than myself: you might not get the Super Turbo Championship Edition thing. It’s basically referencing Street Fighter and games of that ilk that used to re-release games with new editions (instead of DLC like we’re used to now). The voice that announces the title, the lighting flashes, and the trailer were all a Street Fighter reference. Guacamelee! STCE also pokes fun at quite a few other games; feel free to leave any Easter eggs you find in the comments.
Guacamelee! STCE includes the DLC levels and costumes from the previous game, although the costumes aren’t free – they’re purchased with in-game silver currency. Don’t worry too much though: one of the new costumes is based on a piñata, and gains more money, so unlock that one first!
The other new costume is a badass Mayan warrior costume that works with the Intenso power.
Tostada’s storyline has also been expanded, and she now appears throughout the game, making her feel a bit more important. In fact, the two new locations, Canal de las Flores and Pico de Gallo, shed some light on her past. This was very important to me; as you may remember, my previous review touched on the weakest aspect of Guacamelee!, which was the plot and treatment of women.
Along with the new locations, there are also elite-level versions of enemies and a new boss, El Trio de la Muerto. The previous enemies are now stronger, more numerous and (I’m pretty sure) more intelligent, as I ended up in a standoff with a boss who refused to move until I came out of the corner. I was quite impressed.
The Intenso power is interesting and seemingly the studio’s excuse to up the difficulty level of the game for single players. I say that with love, as I’m enamoured with the difficulty of the game. On normal mode, Guacamelee! STCE is just a smidge less difficult than the classics we played growing up. On hard mode, the game easily keeps up with the difficulty levels of the games of yester-year. Intenso makes the characters move faster and hit harder, allowing the game to rain enemies down upon your hapless character.
Finally, a lot of loving little touches were added, such as the ability to have more than one save spot; Independent Dimension Swapping, which was extremely helpful for co-op; and refined graphics and animations. There’s also a new environmental hazard: the red glitter. What could the red glitter possibly entail? It’s lava. Long story, but it’s fun. And frustrating.
What I Didn’t Like
The plot is still pretty weak, although I can see (and truly appreciate) that they tried to give Tostada more of a background. Juan still felt like a mystery at the end of the game.
I also don’t love that I have to re-earn the costumes from previous DLCs. However, I can see that this is a compromise aimed at people who didn’t necessarily play the original game, while still giving those of us who purchased the DLC the items we previously gained. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it.
Speaking of which, I do think that some folks who already own Guacamelee! and all the DLC will feel miffed that they have to purchase the game again, instead of being allowed to simply buy an upgrade. However, again, I think this would have been logistically challenging and perhaps impossible to fix, so I’m not holding it against Drink Box Studios.
The game looks lovely and plays better than ever. I’m so happy I can play this gorgeous little game on my PS4 now!