For anyone lucky enough to have played the original Guacamelee back in 2013 were treated to a fun, addictive, but short Metroidvania action platformer.
It was probably one of my all-time favourite platformers as it perfectly fused fast-paced fun combat, satisfying exploration, and a very unique art style that really popped out of the screen.
Finally 5 years later, we get a sequel…but does it surpass the original?
Brilliant Level Design
The first thing I have to talk about is the brilliant level design. It’s creative and original, taking what was great about the first game and I believe taking it even further this time around.
Guacamelee 2 is a far more challenging game in terms of platforming. This game will test the limits of your skills with button use and reflexes. Almost every button, both face and shoulder, have their own assigned use, and this game is not afraid to test your skills.
I remember having to redo certain areas over and over again because of how tough some sections were, but ultimately I had a blast doing it.
While the level of challenge is high, it’s not over-the-top brutal. I think the level of challenge is balanced perfectly, it will push you, but it will not break you. That’s what makes the platforming of Guacamelee 2 just so perfect.
For example, there’ll be moments where you’ll have to use a specific ability to reach a grapple point, use that then turn into a chicken and use pollo abilities, then turn back to human form and double jump to reach the other side, all the while shifting between dimensions!
That’s just my made-up example of how hectic it can be, but it’s so satisfying when you pull it all off. If you die or mess up, you’ll quickly return to the start to try again, so it doesn’t stall your momentum too much.
But because every button on your controller has a use, it can get a bit confusing to remember what does what, so if you haven’t played the game in a while, it’ll take a little while to get back in the zone, but the game isn’t so long that you’ll need a big break from it.
Not only is Guacamelee 2 tougher, it is a bit longer than the original too. More Guacemelee is definitely a welcome change! Some areas are so much bigger in size, which means more platforming fun, but it also makes backtracking a bit of a pain because you’ll have to possibly redo tough sections again.
When I had to backtrack, there wasn’t too much distance to cover because I had tried to complete each area as best as I could, so it wasn’t really that bad.
Combat and Abilities
A Guacamelee game wouldn’t be complete without its combat, and it’s retained that fast-paced, clever combat.
All the usual abilities you gained from the first Guacamelee all make their comeback, from the Frog Splash to Dimension Shifting. The best part is that they’re all used so cleverly in the combat, not just in the platforming.
Enemies will be covered in coloured shields that can only be broken with certain abilities, so you’ll need to be on your toes when using the right moves.
Pulling off big combos and utilizing all your skills just feels so good, as I was always excited for the next battle to just unleash everything I had on the enemies.
What was a surprise though is how much more useful your chicken form has become. In the first Guacamelee, your chicken form was only good for crawling into small spaces, but in the sequel, the chicken can really fight!
You can do grapple moves, use unique pollo abilities, and even your pecking can cause big damage.
All of these changes just added so much more to the game without overwhelming you. All the extra abilities just add to the difficulty and complexity of both the combat and plaforming.
The Story of Guacamelee 2
While the first game’s story was more of a ‘save the girl’ storyline, this sequel raises the stakes greatly. The game picks up years after the events of the first game, where Juan must don his mask and set out to save the Mexiverse (a play on the Multiverse).
It’s a bit of a strange start because you hardly see much of the main villain and everything is kind of explained quickly. It was just a bit hard to care early on, but it didn’t matter because the gameplay took centre stage!
But having played through it all, the story was an improvement over the original. Thankfully it retained all of its humour and funny characters. You’ll see cheeky references to other games, and just that sarcastic kind of humour this game is so good at.
I’m also very thankful for the game retaining its visuals and music. That distinct art style, combined with all the bright colours, just makes for a visual feast! Also the music retains that Mexican vibe. It all just adds that unique personality that only this game has.
I literally have nothing bad to say about Guacamelee 2. Everything that made the original so good was just elevated in the sequel. Beating the hell out of enemies never got old, and the platforming is also more challenging, but never to the point of frustration.
If you love platformers, Guacamelee 2 is an absolute must, as there are not many better platformers in this current generation.