A true ode to gamers. Guacamelee!
On February 12, 2012, Drinkbox Studios released a small launch game for the Playstation Vita. The game was Tales from Space:Mutant Blobs Attack. With very little games available at the PS Vita, the strategic move to release this game helped expose a small Indie title giving it the opportunity to shine on a somewhat mediocre release of the handheld. It received rave review, getting a 9/10 from IGN.com
Its second release, Guacamelee, exclusive to the PS3 and Vita as a cross-play purchase, is an improvement to the simple style of its previous release. As you play throughout the game you will see the true beauty that comes from the detail and odes to previous games throughout. I will not ruin the fun of seeing them for yourself, but a hint: make sure you look at the posters in the towns to get a little laugh.
Guacamelee follows the journey of young luchador Juan Aguacate (that's Avocado in Spanish) as he attempts to rescue his beloved only known as El Presidente's daughter from the evil Carlos Calaca. He is assisted by a grumpy old goat and other characters, gaining new powers throughout the game. His powers help get him through different levels and allows you to back track to find hidden areas in places you have already passed.
At first, there is a bit of a learning curve with the controls. I found myself sometimes forgetting about moves I needed to get over a ledge or to defeat an enemy. Attention is definitely needed throughout gameplay and every power will be used in every level as you progress. I always found myself excited to gain a new power, such as turning into a chicken to get through a passageway or jumping between a living or dead dimension to reveal ledges helped to climb to higher parts of a level.
The levels are bright and varied. I enjoyed walking through the towns and speaking to the villagers that are able to communicate with you both as living beings as well as their undead counterparts as you switch between dimensions. You can help some of them accomplish goals to distract you from the main story with little side quests.
My only gripe was the music. I felt that there was not much variety and though you can hear the music changing as you go to different parts of the game, they all sound very similar.
All in all, this platformer was more than I had expected. I don't tend to think too much of Indie games as I am often disappointed. I am glad I was able to enjoy this one. The level of detail that Drinkbox Studios put into this title is apparent throughout. I look forward to seeing its next release and if they will push their talents to other consoles or stay exclusive to Sony.
Have viewers played this game? What were your impressions? Please leave your comments at the bottom of the post.