|Platform: 360, XB1, Wii U, PS3, PS4, Vita, PC Release: April, 2013|
I had my eye on Guacamelee! for quite a while before I finally picked it up and played it. Platforming and item-based exploration are two of my most favorite things in gaming and Guacamelee! did not disappoint on these or any other front (except perhaps one).
This game exudes style with its flashy, colorful animation and Mexican aesthetic which is rarely explored in gaming. The quality doesn't stop with the art style; it also has a rockin' soundtrack that'll get stuck in your head and an epic and amusingly written storyline that isn't just arbitrarily tacked on. On top of that are countless references and nods to other similar games like Metroid and even internet memes like Grumpy Cat, so in between discovering the many hidden items, you'll also be discovering tons of spiffy easter eggs.
|What? No! These "Choozo" Statues are totally different from Metroid's Chozo Statues.|
Well, yeah, I guess they both give you new abilities, but that's just a coincidence.
The game itself plays like a Metroidvania game, which means that you'll be exploring and finding new abilities which will allow you to explore new areas. Unlike Metroid, however, you'll be fighting enemies with your fists using intuitive Smash Bros.-like controls of "attack+direction", dodges, and throws. The abilities used for exploring can also be used in battle and many moves can be upgraded as well. Getting the hang of fighting and succeeding in comboing your enemies while dodging incoming attacks feels truly epic and is super fun. Unfortunately, it is also the root of my single complaint with this game which is that combat starts out too simple. In the beginning of the game, there are disappointingly few moves at your disposal and it would have been nice if the unlockable exploration/battle moves were available from the start and different exploration-centric abilities were put in their place. Still, this is only a minor complaint against the otherwise expertly crafted combat and controls.
|This optional area with lots of world swapping is probably the hardest place in the game.|
|If you play on Steam, you can be Batman. Or Samus. Or Johnny Bravo.|
Look, if you like platforming games at all, I don't see how you wouldn't like this game. It's a blast. It'll take around six hours to beat, but if you're like me, you'll have so much fun that you'll immediately want to play through it again on hard mode and find every secret the game has to offer. It's available on practically every platform, so check it out!
I linked it already, but here are a bunch more games that are similar to Guacamelee!. Otherwise, here's a totally free indie game that you probably haven't hear of.