Guacamelee 2

Guacamelee 2

After 2013's indie hit, Drinkbox Studios is back with another knockout punch.

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Guacamelee was a smash hit, but with Guacamelee 2 Drinkbox Studios is presenting a scenario of parallel worlds. In the worst possible timeline protagonist Juan was defeated by the demonic Galaca and our adversary Salvador is now the dreaded hero, but due to his serious illness he has dedicated himself to the search for the divine guacamole, which is said to grant him immeasurable power. To achieve his goal Salvador gathered three troublemakers around him, who assist in the search to find the legendary relics necessary. Once again the Mexiverse is on the threshold of the abyss and Juan must leave his peaceful timeline to fight Salvador and avert the ultimate evil. Who better for the job than our main luchador?

If you played 2013's original crazy indie title, you'll know that it combines brawler action with classic 2D platforming, and so does this sequel, which even lets us play together with up to three buddies on our couch. Multiplayer is, by the way, only possible in offline mode on one screen, but since Guacamelee 2 is aiming at advanced players, it might be harder if one friend really sucks.

You'll need to not suck, however, in order to overcome some of the trickier pathways, as Guacamelee 2 forces you to use different types of attacks combined with your movement options. Those who don't quickly get the hang of things may find themselves in front of some seemingly insurmountable walls early in the adventure as a result, so trust us when we say this isn't a casual walk in the park.

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In fact, Guacamelee 2 is also a Metroidvania, so we regularly gain new skills and return to already-visited areas to find new secrets. Double jumps, wall runs, cannonballs, and some crazy chicken moves are just some of the techniques of a true hero. You heard right when we said chicken, by the way, as Juan and his buddies can turn into chickens to crawl through narrow spaces and do chicken stuff. You know, chicken stuff.

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These special techniques aren't used for exploration only, but also come in handy when delivering a beatdown, as many bony minions from the underworld can protect themselves from your standard wrestling moves, so you have to use the proper abilities to break the shields (the shield's colour tells us which attack is effective). Special attacks require stamina though, which recharges after a short delay by itself.

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What we liked most about Guacamelee 2 is the creative mash-up with other games and genres, and from a gameplay perspective it's quite interesting to see Drinkbox Studios breaking the platforming frameworks with clever use of multiple game elements. For example, early in the game Juan gets caught in a gritty RPG world after he goes through a portal, in which the game turns into a tactical, turn-based adventure, which was great fun to play. In fact, thorughout the game we see references and nods to other games and current trends, such as PUBG and Fortnite, Street Fighter, and even Dark Souls.

On top of this Drinkbox Studios has done a great job in putting all of these moves into a compact control scheme, as special and normal attacks, basic movement including jumps and the dodge roll, and the chicken transformation are all assigned to dedicated commands on the controller. There's even a button that lets us jump between dimensions, as some enemies can only be harmed in certain parallel worlds (which can be incredibly tiring, unfortunately).

Although there's some real seriousness in the story, Guacamelee 2 never loses its witty charm, as crazy characters are constantly appearing throughout the game, and returning players will know them all too well. Although the Mexiverse doesn't reinvent anything, it didn't really need to in the first place, and it feels fresh and captivating in 2018 just as much as it did in 2013, so much so that we've been sucked into its insanity time and time again.

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08 Gamereactor UK
8 / 10
Great co-op game, Smart, challenging platforming, Charming presentation of the Mexiverse, Absurd humour.
Overloaded game design can deter newcomers, Parallel worlds can become tiring.
overall score
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REVIEW. Written by Stefan Briesenick

"Although the Mexiverse doesn't reinvent anything, it didn't really need to in the first place."

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