As a born-and-raised Australian Nintendo fan, I’ve grown accustomed to the proverbial finger from the Downunder subsidiary of our beloved video game company. On occasion, I welcome that finger with open arms as a sick, sadistic gesture for my displeasure. However, despite my thick skin, I still get upset by the pitiful and pathetic state of the Aussie eShop. What grinds my gears, is how so few quality Indie games make it across to Australia. The Wii U has been in the wild for almost 2 years, and yet there are only 11 indie titles to purchase. Give me a break Nintendo!, takes the initiative and bring over more content for your users.
While I wait for Shovel Knight to be available for purchase – I decided to give the highly regarded, Guacamelee a go. Originally released for the PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 3 and PC last year – Guacamelee’s initial release was met with critical acclaim – prompting developer, Drinkbox Studios, to port over an enhanced edition for the new generation systems – titled: Gaucamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition.
Guacamelee is an interesting title to say the least. Featuring Mexicans, an Old Geaser that can transform himself into a goat and many clever external video game references – Gaucamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition is a game that you do not often come across. At the crux, Guacamelee is largely derivative in its core game design, however, it more than makes up for it in style .
Although not apparent from a simple synopsis – Guacamelee is a silly play on the rescue-the-princess trope that we often see from Nintendo. You play as Juan – whom like Mario – has a lovely crush on a princess-like-figure, which in this instance is the El Presidente’s daughter. As is often the case with this tried-and-true trope, the El Presidente’s daughter is kidnapped by the villainous figure – Carlos Calaca. After a few happenings – Juan is transformed into a powerful Luchador tasked to save the El Presidente’s daughter and foil Carlos’ plans to rule the world. The narrative itself, takes a back seat to everything else, as story elements pop-up few and far between gameplay. Despite this, Guacamelee will have you chuckle when the text dialogue does pop-up on the TV screen (or GamePad) as it pertains a particular sense of humor that can be easily be appreciated by any gamer.
Gaucamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition is well presented. I particularly like the visual style selected by Drinkbox Studios. Largely inspired by the comic-book scene meshed with the taste of Mexico – watching Gaucamelee in action is an absolute joy. The animation itself is top notch as well – I particularly like the way how Juan runs, finding it particularly fascinating.
At its core, Guacamelee is a 2D platform-action-game, that follows the same principle game desigsn pioneered by the original Metroid games back in the 2D era. Progressing through the game is achieved by gaining new abilities that will grant you the power to access areas that previously was inaccessible. Essentially, the objective of the game is to find new abilities, which is blessed upon you by an old geezer that can transform himself into a goat, and then using those abilities to open up new areas. For example, your first new ability, the Rooster Uppercut, not only serve as a powerful combo finisher, but it provides Juan with an addition jump to reach that out of reach leg. There are many more new abilities that you can earn throughout the adventure some impressive, like turning into a chicken and able to switch between the living and dead world, and other abilities which are not so impressive.
What separates Gaucamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition from other platformers, from lets say… Metroid, is the deep and incredibly amusing combat system. It is simplistic on paper and yet deep in execution – the combat system in Gaucamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition truly impressive. Attacking is as simple as pressing a single button and throwing is assigned to another button. However, the real fun comes at stringing long combo’s by strategically imputing the right attack, throw and special move. The games animation and sound makes the combat a largely satisfying affair as well.
Gaucamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition is a fairly challenging game and you should expect to die frequently during your initial playthrough. For starters, Gaucamelee has an annoying knack of throwing hoards of baddies at you, in fact enemies upon enemies. Sure, I like a challenge or two, but it does cross the line of unfair and what makes things worst is that the screen becomes so cluttered with enemies that it can be hard to keep track of Juan. With this said, there are sections of the good type of difficult in Gaucamelee. This can be found in the platforming sections in the latter half of the adventure. I mean there are some outright fiendish platforming sections that even rival the best of what Nintendo has to offer in games like New Super Mario Bros U or Donkey Kong Tropical: Freeze. At one specific section, it must have taken at least 30 minutes to clear.
With slim pickings on the Nintendo Wii U eShop, it comes at no surprise that I would recommend Gaucamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition. Regardless of that, Gaucamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition, is a quality game in its own right. With a fantastic visual style, quality game design choices, satisfying combat and a decent challenge – it’s everything you want in a video game. If you have a few extra dollars left in your eShop wallet, then why not give Gaucamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition a try.