Anyone who reads enough of my reviews knows I am a huge fan of Metroidvania games. The original Guacamelee is considered by me to be one of the most unique and enjoyable games in the genre over the last decade. Now five years late developer DrinkBox Studios is back with the sequel, Guacamelee 2 and I couldn’t be happier. What has our hero Juan Aguacate been up to since defeating Calaca? I spent the last couple weeks playing nearly every day, read on to see what I thought of this sequel.
Players start out seven years later, an overweight father now, Juan has gotten a little soft. I know the feeling. After all those years of peace though Juan is thrown back into the ring and recruited to protect the entire Mexiverse. As the last “Juan”, he is transported to the “Darkest Timeline” where the Juan from this dimension was defeated and another luchador saved them all. Unfortunately he is now being manipulated by evil into finding the guacamole of the gods. Time to put the mask back on and be a hero again.
Guacamelee 2 plays much like the original Guacamelee, a side scrolling open world awaits players. Juan will gain new abilities such as the Rooster Uppercut and turning into a chicken when he breaks special statues that look oddly familiar. What I really enjoy about Guacamelee 2 is that these abilities are not just for combat, many in fact are needed to gain access to areas, when timed right they push your jump a little higher or allow you to move across gaps, they still kick some bad guy ass too. Mastering these abilities is a key because as Guacamelee 2 progresses it gets intense. I would say about five hours into the game, my thumbs started getting one hell of a workout.
Guacamelee 2 is beautiful. The whole aesthetics of the game are based on Mexican culture and this is evident in the intricate designs of the levels and enemies. While not graphically a huge leap over the original game, Guacamelee 2 does improve on the already gorgeous and unique setting. Enemies may not have a ton of different skins but there is enough variety that it doesn’t become monotonous. Bosses are well designed and many battles are screen-filling craziness. I also love that the game doesn’t take itself too seriously. There are tons of pop culture references and even a little jab at the complaints online about the previous game’s use of memes. Personally I love it, and these little things made me laugh on a regular basis while playing Guacamelee 2.
Audio and music is also more of the same, but hey if ain’t broke and all that. Dialog is text based but the music itself is catchy and will get stuck in your head easily. If you enjoy hispanic music, you should enjoy it even more. Guacamelee 2 has some of the best music of any indie I have played this year. It really shows the dedication to the setting and culture.
Guacamelee 2 will definitely challenge you as I mentioned. Many of the obstacles Juan encounters will require you to die a few times before realizing the solution, or powers needed, to proceed. I love a challenge if it’s well thought out and my thumbs were burning many times after a particularly difficult area. That feeling of pride and jubilation was there though and made for an even more rewarding experience. Guacamelee 2 is not for beginners to the genre but I would still recommend it to newer players if they can get a friend or three to play with them. Couch-mode co-op is available for up to four players and it is a hoot! The various skins you can earn for characters are downright hilarious.
Guacamelee 2 is the best Metroidvania game of the year I have played so far. I expect it will keep me playing even after completing it, hunting those chests I missed and totally completing areas is part of the fun for me. I am about 10 hours into it at the time of writing this and am still only have about 65% of the map completed. That coupled with multiplayer makes it a great value at under 20 bucks. If you enjoyed the first game, are just looking for a side scroller to challenge you, or enjoy with friends, Guacamelee 2 is a must buy!