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    dkirschner's Guacamelee! (PC)

    [January 20, 2015 10:40:54 AM]
    I was pleasantly surprised by Guacamelee. It falls under the category of "games I'd never heard of but checked out because it got great reviews." Sometimes that's a good practice.

    Guacamelee is a 2D beat-em-up with several cool mechanics. Switching between the world of the living and the world of the dead is key among them because the environment can change when you do this, revealing hidden pathways. Enemies can even phase in and out of each world, so you must switch to attack them. Enemies also wind up with different colored shields corresponding to your special moves. Use the correct special move on the corresponding shielded enemy to break their shield and damage them.

    Great, but what's it about David? You play as Juan, an agave farmer in Mexico. Your town is preparing to celebrate Dia de los Muertos, but alas, the ruler of the underworld attacks! He steals El Presidente's Daughter (yes, that's her name, as is El Ambassador's Son, etc.) and plans to sacrifice her in a ritual to merge the worlds of the living and the dead, creating an unholy paradise where he rules all. He kills you (Juan), but you get the power of a Luchador and chase him down.

    The game's pacing is flawless. New special moves are introduced right when you get good at the previous move. New moves serve dual purposes: attacking and exploring. For example, the sideways dash lets you plow through enemies and break blue bricks to find new areas. The downward slam lets you smash enemies from above and break green bricks. It is very cool how the levels continue to open up as you gain new abilities.

    The game's puzzles provide a nice challenge, though none are too difficult. They usually involve some dextrous platforming and button-pressing, so if you're good at that kind of thing, you won't have a problem. The execution of the puzzle solutions are much more difficult than figuring out what to do.

    There is an upgrade system that I found mostly pointless. The special moves that you learn through the course of the game are far more beneficial and powerful than the "health orb" or "increased stamina regeneration" or whatever you can purchase with coins dropped from enemies. I bought upgrades but they never seemed to make much of a difference. You can also buy costumes, which are more fun and provide some self-imposed challenges (i.e., the chicken costume might make you do double damage but take double damage).

    Perhaps my favorite parts of the game were the art direction and humor. I don't excel in describing art, so I'll just instruct you to Google it. The game's humor revolves around Mexican culture, which I found tasteful and charming. I read that the game was made by a Canadian team (I had guessed first it was made in California with people from Mexican families on the team), and my take on this is that they did such a good job creating this Mexican story that the value of that culture shines through. It is clear they were respectful and hold the culture in high regard enough to make a great game about it.

    The other aspect of humor is referential to games and internet culture. I took a handful of screenshots of game references, from Super Mario Brothers to Goat Simulator. One of the bosses talks about his Kickstarter goal and gets criticized for offering crappy backer rewards. There is random stuff like that throughout and it is funny. I also like that you can turn into a chicken on a whim.

    Warning: The last boss is a bit of a challenge! None of the others were that difficult, but I spent a good 45 minutes to an hour trying to take him down. Learn his noises, animations, and be patient!

    Guacamelee also supports local co-op, which is super cool. I wish I had a second controller for my PC!
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    dkirschner's Guacamelee! (PC)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Saturday 10 January, 2015

    GameLog closed on: Monday 19 January, 2015

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    Insanely fun and perfectly paced. Fighting is a blast, as is discovery and the bad guys. ----------- Fantastic game.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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