Guacamelee 2: The Kotaku Review

Guacamelee 2 feels great to play. It is a demanding platform game with elements from the beat-ups of the past, but with such precision that they feel modern. The way in which throwing a punch can be interwoven with hoping that every obstacle is converted into a puzzle over a pit of lava. Despite superficial similarities and homages with dozens of video classics, Guacamelee 2 feels unique and unparalleled, even if it does not surpass the sum of every amazing part.

Guacamelee 2 takes place seven years after the first game. Modest agaveboer changed heroic luchador Juan Aguacate enjoys a quiet life with his family when a crisis that threatens the & # 39; Mexiverse & # 39; get him out of his pension. The main lines of a complicated and sometimes funny plot go beyond that, but the only thing you really need to know is that Salvador, a fellow-luchador in an alternative timeline, breaks reality and you have to stop him. It is full of cultural gambling references and memes, which in themselves are exciting but admirable if they are considered in their entirety. In a part of the game, called the damp cave, it is littered with groaning advertising signs from a grumpy cat and dedicated to characters who broadcast their grievances with the first game.

Otherwise, the game functions almost exactly like the first, with a few adjustments and general improvements. Juan spends the opening hours collecting all his special moves from the first game, each with a specific color corresponding to a particular obstacle or enemy shield. I am also central to the specific mix of platforms of the game. An uppercut will help Juan to jump a bit higher, while an arrowhead can get him just far enough to reach an otherwise unreachable ledge. In combination with other skills, such as double jumps and wrestling with the wall, the results are elegant and devastating attack combinations that also serve as a means of passage. It is easy to unravel which button buttons are needed to get through a certain set of obstacles and then perform them without problems. As merciless as platform platform gaming can be, it never feels unfair.

The power of the pollo gets a very big significance in Guacamelee 2 with a whole series of sidequests and ultra hard challenges based on your new chicken skills.
Screenshot: Kotaku (Guacamelee 2)

Instead of expanding his arsenal, Guacamelee 2 puts more emphasis on the chicken form of Juan. When transformed, Juan can pull the Pollo Shot and Pollo Slide to break purple and orange blocks and shields respectively. The slide is in fact an attack on a side attack, but the Pollo Shot sends Juan with an angle of 45 degrees. Early in the game it is a nice extra boost that is needed to achieve a goal, but later on it is necessary to carefully follow winding tunnels with nailed walls or to dodge over the head of an enemy. The chicken can also slide and occasionally find power-ups to go into superbird mode and become invincible, which is a welcome reward after completing extremely long and punishing pieces of the card.

Generally, the chicken shape, which used to be used only to traverse tight tunnels similar to Samus & Morph Ball maneuver, is more versatile in Guacamelee 2but the real beauty lies in how Drinkbox has designed levels and fights to take advantage of these new skills. I often noticed that I had to transform myself into a chicken shape halfway through the jump or between two skeletons in the face and then back again to use another specific attack that Juan could only launch. It is an important distinction for a sequel that at first sight most people would have difficulty distinguishing themselves from their predecessor.

The dimension circuit of the first game had also returned. Juan can seamlessly switch between the worlds of living and killing with a single push of a button. If you do this, you change the appearance and geometry of a level: a wall or platform can exist in one world, but not in the other, causing Juan to switch between the sky or mid-attack. Sometimes two dimensions exist alongside bands that move across the screen. Instead of just checking which of two static environments is displayed, I noticed that I was dealing with the timing of the game while also having my combo's good and if necessary switching back and forth between the chicken shape.

All these movements together often make Guacamelee 2 feel more like trying to disentangle a brainteaser than a traditional platform game. If you see how the solution to a problem visually unfolds while you go right through the beautiful levels of the game, it is his own reward that takes away feelings of exhaustion of frustration. The art style and detailed environments allowed me free rein, while the mechanics needed to traverse them felt almost overwhelmingly cerebral.

The game includes a local four-player coop that is seamlessly integrated throughout the game. It is fun in theory, but often chaotic and extremely difficult in practice. Combat scale to take into account the extra players, but the platform action remains unchanged.
Screenshot: Kotaku (Guacamelee 2)

In isolation every aspect of Guacamelee 2 is satisfactory, but the fusion of all its moving parts remains incomplete. Even more than the first game, Guacamelee 2The levels can feel boxy or restrictive. Everything is deliberately arranged so; there is very little room for improvisation outside of the fights. They are still an interesting and sophisticated look at the traditional side-scrolling beat-up, but they can be less polished than the platforming. More than once, I have had the hard time finishing enemies in a certain room, only to walk through it lightly after a series of different choices by the AI, made a crowd more vulnerable and easy to deal with.

Guacamelee 2 has a combo meter that fills when you successfully place hits. To be able to juggle enemies in the air before being thrown at others is still fun, but it often feels a little extra. Boss battles are toned down in difficulty, for better or worse. Apart from a few fights in which I cursed on my TV, the enemy encounters often felt repetitive. Drinkbox has added a small skill tree this time, where new upgrades of skills and status buffs such as getting more gold from defeated enemies are unlocked by completing certain challenges and spending gold, but it fills up very quickly and felt more as a formality than anything else. It is these aspects of the game that, although not necessarily bad, resemble remnants Guacamelee 2Inspirations instead of something new.

Guacamelee 2 also contains Eagle Boosts, small golden statues that hang in the air and of which you can channel the force to catapult yourself in every direction as soon as you are within reach.
Screenshot: Kotaku (Guacamelee 2)

Metroidvania worlds have side quests and people to talk to, so Guacamelee 2 has that too. In a certain house towards the end of the race I met a daughter whose father had died. In the world of the dead I could talk to him and tell him about his daughter, and in the world of the living I could convince her that he was still present in some way or other and thought of her. It was a simple, beautiful interaction, but the treasure box that sat behind the daughter who had unlocked these conversations felt like a rough way to try it in the rest of what Guacamelee 2 is about.

Like a winding network of caves and passageways where every opening cries out for you to try out a courageous struggle stunt to see where it leads to, Guacamelee 2 feels exciting, like spelunking with a pogo stick. In this way, it surpasses many of the classics that show the honor and shows why it is a completely different animal. It is also a worthy successor to the first game, bigger in almost every way, but without a centimeter of space wastage. But if it grows in size and ambition, so is the chasm between the heroic deed that Juan is asked to perform and the incomplete feeling of the universe he is doing to save.

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