Guacamelee is so much fun; it’s everything that was wonderful about Super Metroid. In many ways it’s better than Super Metroid, as it replaces the imprecise projectiles with melee combat attacks that are a lot of fun to chain together. The game also has a lovely sense of humor, and the writing for every character is perfect.
Probably my favorite part of Guacamelee is that you can choose to play as either the default male hero or a female hero who would otherwise serve as a guide. Aside from the character sprite and its animations, nothing else changes in terms of gameplay or dialog, which means that all of the female NPCs flirt with the female hero aggressively, calling her buff and spicy and handsome.
There are also a number of unlockable outfits that allow the female hero to wear actual clothing instead of the default bandages and ripped fabric. My favorite of these outfits is a bright red tailored suit, which I desperately covet for myself. Each outfit adjusts the parameters of combat, and the red suit is especially interesting to play with since it allows more stamina (for special attacks) at the expense of health, meaning that it rewards an aggressive fighting style. Because your character has less overall health, however, this outfit renders the platforming sections much more punishing, and they’re difficult to begin with.
Every stage in Guacamelee contains a special ability that allows better navigation of the terrain. These abilities allow the player to discover treasure and new areas of the map while backtracking, which is always enjoyable, but each ability also results in a new set of platforming challenges. Some of these are insane, especially in the final three areas. The game is generous with its respawn points and doesn’t punish failure, which is good, because I died all the damn time.
There’s something so satisfying about trying and failing and trying and failing and trying and failing and trying and then finally getting it right as you gradually get a handle on how the game mechanics work; and I think that, when this rise in difficulty level is handled well, it’s one of the most satisfying aspects of gaming. In this sense I suppose I can understand where the “git gud” crowd is coming from, yet I don’t think I would have been able to handle Guacamelee if it were that much more difficult. Considering how clever and creative this game is, it would have been a shame if I hadn’t been able to play it.
I should also mention that I love the OST; my favorite track is Desierto Caliente.
( Header image from DualSHOCKERS )