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‘Guacamelee’ offers twist on Hispanic culture


“What is a Luchadore? Nothing but a miserable pile of secrets.” So says Carlos Calaca, in the game “Guacamelee.” This quote is a perfect example of what the game is all about.

As a love letter to both Hispanic culture and video games, this hidden indie gem teaches players about the world of Mexican wrestling, mannerisms and humor, and its artistic style is heavily Hispanic.

“Guacamelee” is an exploration-based platformer, harkening back to late ’90s-early 2000s classics such as “Super Metroid” and “Castlevania.”

The combat, in addition to being a good representation of the showy and acrobatic wrestling popular in Mexico, is smooth and well balanced. The controls are easy to learn, yet hard to master, but by the end of the game you’ll be racking up 100 hit combos without a sweat.

The player starts the game as a young agave farmer who is tasked with saving El Presidente’s daughter after she is kidnapped by the menacing Carlos Calaca.

On the journey, players are bestowed with a lucha-libre mask of great power, with everything needed to defeat any obstacles.

The game also has a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor, with posters strewn about advertising things like “Los Super Hermanos” and “Los Casa Crashers” — a play on Super Mario Brothers” and “Castlecrashers.” Even Calaca’s quote about Luchadores is a nod to the popular “Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.”

There aren’t many problems with this game, though the enemy variety is an issue. Once half the game is done, the player has seen all the enemy types, their move sets and their alternatives.

Even with outstanding bosses, the game lacks canon fodder obstacles, and it becomes a blur as to which skeletons were previously fought where.

However, other than a few tiny nitpicks, this game stands out among the piles of same-y MetroidVania pixel art games, with its unique and inspired art style, its lighter tone and humor, and its smooth flowing combat.

“Guacamelee” is produced by Drink Box Studios and is available for PS3, PS4, PSVita and PC. And at only $14.99, it’s great value for money.

Story by Jason Hebner, UP contributor

Category: News