It’s an increasingly common trend that some of the best games from 2013 are launching on PlayStation 4 in 2014. Two high profile examples are The Last of Us and Grand Theft Auto 5, and now there’s another great game you should add to that list if you haven’t already, Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition.
Guacamelee! from Canadian studio Drinkbox, came out in April last year on PS3 and PS Vita but this year’s PS4 release sees some new content added to the mix, boding the question: is it a game you should play if you’ve never played Guacamelee! before? And, is the new content worth a purchase if you’ve already played Guacamelee!?
The first question is easy, yes. Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition is a challenging, fun, addictive game that is worth your money. Guacamelee! stars Juan, who after being killed is resurrected into a luchador by Tostada and sent on a quest to go and rescue El Presidente’s daughter, who has been kidnapped by Carlos Calaca. Tostada, like Juan, is playable through co-op or through changing costume, for which there are numerous options, all of which are available for both Juan and Tostada. Many of the optional costumes are from the additional DLC from the main game but two are new, the pinata and the warrior.
The great thing about the costumes in the game is that they aren’t just cosmetic, but have positive and negative attributes which can turn the game into a slightly different experience, particularly in combat. For example, the Pinata costume doubles the amount of money you get in pinatas you receive after defeating all enemies in an area but makes you much more fragile.
The combat in Guacamelee! is definitely a case of easy to use, hard to master. It’s pretty simplistic in that the colour-coded moves are executed by pressing a direction on the d-pad or analog stick and the circle button. However, chaining them to defeat enemies in the fastest, most efficient way is the key to Guacamelee!’s combat. Another way this is shown is through a new ability that is in STCE, Intenso.
Intenso is a power-up ability and is used by pressing down both L3 and R3 on the DualShock 4 and gives Juan or Tostada an Aztec look and a glow around them. Intenso increases character speed and increases attack power massively. However, Intenso is limited and has a limited charge. Intenso can be maintained by defeated enemies. Once depleted, Intenso can be replenished by achieving combos in combat or finding glowing barrells throughout the game. Intenso is also upgradable by finding three parts to complete the emblem, the same as for health and stamina. Intenso can also be upgrading by buying abilities, such as health regeneration when using it. The best thing about Intenso though is that it can be used while you are a chicken, Guacamelee!’s equivalent of Samus’ Morphball in Metroid.
The world of Guacamelee! is an alternate, game and an internet meme-inspired Mexico which has two worlds, living and dead. This changes the game’s music, which is inspired by traditional Mexican music but there are hints of 16-bit game sound effects in there, which is where much of the game’s influence comes from. World shifting also comes into play with puzzles and exploration. It is also the source of the biggest frustration in the game, when rapid shifting of dimension is required and any small mistake can mean death.
The new levels, include new enemies, many of which are tougher versions of ones from the original game, and a new boss. In addition, there’s the Intenso ability and others such as Pollo Egg Bombs which access new areas with purple coloured bricks. The new areas are slotted into the story in a way that takes you off the path from the original game and into the new locations, which is a nice touch and spices things up for people who may know the Guacamelee! map like the back of their hand.
Another thing Drinkbox has done is changed the enemy encounters in the game by adding new, tougher versions of enemies into the mix and making things fresh for people who have previously played the game. Also new is a purple glow to indicate unavoidable attacks. Another visual change is when you unlock a new power from a Chozo statue. The flashy background has been dropped in favour of a less intense moving background. Drinkbox explained that this was because of the game’s Japanese release where they take a harder stance on flashy images.
All in all, Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship is an improved, expanded, more complete version of the game that delighted us when we played it last year. With new secret areas to find, more content, including El Diablo’s Domain, a series of challenges that will test your skills to the limit, all of the costumes that were released, and new content and abilities, it’s a package that must be played by anyone who loves non-linear action platformers. Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship! is a silly, yet utterly enjoyable game that will keep you coming back for more.