Guacamelee Review (PS Vita)

Guacamelee Review
Is it possible to satisfy the craving for a plaforming, fighting, puzzle and wrestling game in one, and still get a solid focus on plot about supernatural things? Based on Mexican culture and folklore, Guacamelee attempts to do so. Does it belong to the world of the living or the dead? Read our review and find out!

Guacamelee is set in the country of Mexico. You start-off in the game as guy named Juan Aguacate, an agave farmer. He's a normal dude, with a big body and a kind heart. As Juan was doing some things for a friar, a group of strangers lead by a certain Carlos Calaca abducted El Presidente's daughter (the most beautiful girl in the world) and plans to use her as a sacrifice to merge the living and the dead's worlds.

I'll skip with the spoilers and just tell you that eventually, Juan becomes something "more heroic" — A very powerful and skillful luchador or wrestler, because of a mysterious mask he found in the other world.

Guacamelee Boss

Metroid meets God of War. Perhaps that's the best way to describe this game. It's a mix of platforming and chaining attacks. Proper timing must be mixed with a little creativity.

You can mix up moves like you would in a fighting game. It's a perfect way to exercise your violent but creative skills. At the start of the game you are limited to just a few moves, but as Juan transforms you get access to more moves and combination attacks.

If you remember how early Castlevania games introduced RPG elements of talking to people, you can find the same concept here. You can explore towns, talk to people and take on side-missions which could reward you with something good like a health chunk which can help in gaining extra life.

Your main objective is usually pointed up in the map. There's even an arrow indicating which direction you should go. You can take deviate from the main story from time to time, but certain areas are not accessible until you get access to certain abilities.

Some moves (power) you'll eventually get as you progress in the story, but there are some that you can purchase. As you get more powers, it's hard not to look forward for more.

Guacamelee GameplayGuacamelee Power-up statue

Guacamelee's platforming elements is truly praise-worthy. As you get more powerful, you will need to mix up different moves into order to reach certain platforms. The game is very successful on keeping things interesting on this aspect. There is usually more than one way you can reach a certain platform, which virtually gives a sense of freedom. In many cases, the platforming becomes a tough puzzle to solve. Which is why this game also has the right to claim itself as a "strategy game".

With Juan's transformation comes the ability to travel between world of the living and the dead (well, eventually). So what exists in one world, like a pillar for instance, may not exist in another world. This adds up another level of complexity in the game's platforming elements which makes the game becomes even more challenging.

From time to time your skills will be put to the test. It's a good thing that save points aren't too far off from each other. And because the game has cross-save support, you can always upload your progress to the Internet and download it later. It's very useful especially when someone else messes with your save file all the time. Of course, you can do the same with PlayStation Plus cloud saves but the in-game support is much, much better.

Guacamelee employs some reasonably smart enemies. They are all very distinct in appearance and behavior, they all look very sinister. For most of them, you'll probably just have to rely on instinct to beat. However, there are times when you get trapped in a room with lots of enemies, and presence of mind must be combined with priority on whom to beat first. Even when there is no time ticking, you can get time-pressured.

The bosses in Guacamelee, while intimidating, are not that hard to beat. Actually, you'll probably die a few times but the developers made sure you won't go frustrated and allows you to restart at the point where you've done the most extensive damage. It kind of feels like cheating, but for some reason still feels very rewarding.

Guacamelee features a cel-shaded style graphics, but the game never goes beyond 2D. Just like Paper Mario, it's paper-like, but the character movements are fluid and realistic (they don't flip).

When developers release a cross-platform game, the problem is that the handheld version usually gets the low-res version of all the assets, resulting the graphics to appear blurry, pixelated, or rasterized. It's not the same case here with this game, as everything looks fully High Definition.

The character and background moves smoothly. The environments are downright stunning and distinct. The pArticles.html such as rain and snow add up to the realism. As you go through the world of the dead and the living, the environments are also presented in a different way. For example, the snow could be falling down in the living world but goes upside-down in the dead world.

Even with the massive levels, there are very few loading times in the game and when there are, it's reasonably fast.

Adding to the game's dynamic feel are the dynamic and instant zooming in or out of the camera. Sometimes, you'll see your character really small, and sometimes really big. It's a cinematic experience.

The music in Guacamelee brings a relaxing feel. It's Latino in every sense, and tuned to the mood of the game. Although there are no voice-overs, the sound effects are convincing enough to drag your consciousness into the game world.

Guacamelee has very good support for physical controls and only uses the touchscreen where necessary, such as in menus and when turning into a chicken. Yes, you can turn into a chicken! I personally like to feel the crisp click of the DPad, but you can also control the character using the left analog stick. You are sure to get that same experience whether you play on the Vita  as with the PC or PS3.

There's a bunch of other stuff to do in the game. Since you can go back to previously visited places, you can go find any treasures you've missed, or simply complete any side-mission.

You can buy added costumes that also gives extra abilities. You can even switch between a male and female character in the game. You just have to find this shop where you can also buy abilities and there you can change costumes.

The game supports add-on content such as costumes and an extra level through DLC. They're not that expensive and depending on your spending tolerance, they can be very worth-while to get.

If you're not in the mood for DLC's but still want to challenge, you can compete in the online leader board for speed-run in different categories.


Guacamelee is a true work of love by excellent developers to all kinds of gamers. It's a platformer that incorporates several game genre that can satisfy a lot of nerves on different parts of your brain.

There is good character and story progression and the gameplay is so solid. The game compliments that Vita's high-resolution display. Combined with the beautiful Latino music and dynamic camera zooming, you will get a cinematic experience. The story is quite creepy if you give it too much thought, but humor is mixed in from time to time. You will be kept busy by so many secrets to discover, and you will keep looking forward for the next power-up.

There is absolutely no excuse why you shouldn't get this game.

Rating for Guacamelee (PS Vita)
Fun Factor:
Game Info:Platform: PlayStation Vita
Developer: DrinkBox Studios
Publisher: DrinkBox Studios
Release Date: 04/09/2013
Price: $14.99
Rating: E10+
No. of players: 2
Official Site
The Good
  • Cartoon and fluid graphics that brings a cinematic experience
  • Cross-Save Support allows you to save your game on the cloud and continue playing on your PS3 and vice-versa
  • Cross-Buy
  • Creepy but funny plot
  • Flexible combo system is really fun to do over and over again. Different ways to crash your enemies.
  • Giant enemies and bosses
  • Massive levels with very little loading times
  • Extreme Platforming puzzles that could make you pull your hair, but also very rewarding
  • On-line leaderboard will keep you more competitive
  • Lovely Latino music will keep you entranced
  • Two character costumes (Juan and a woman) are available almost immediately
The Bad
  • You may finish the game, but you'll be hungry for more
This Guacamelee Review was based on the North American digital version and played on the first-generation PlayStation Vita Wi-Fi version. If you liked the review, please like it on Facebook or share on Twitter! It will really help a lot.

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