Guacamelee! STCE was released July 1st on both PS4 and Xbox One consoles by Drinkbox Studios. Lucky Xbox owners were able to get a copy for free with Games with Gold for the month of July. Players take on the role of Juan Aguacate, a humble agave farmer turned luchador. He tasks himself with saving the woman he loves, the daughter of El Presidente, from the evil charro skeleton, Calaca. Saving the daughter from the final ritual and her certain doom also means saving the world and what an adventure it is!
The game incorporates some fantastic dialogue with some eccentric characters. From a friar with a passion for drama and telenovelas, a goat/man teacher heavily influenced by the Emperor's New Groove with a thing for moms and bro-codes, to a devil who really doesn't seem like that bad of a guy, every interaction had me chuckling if not bursting out loud. Much of the dialogue felt influenced slightly by Tiny Tina from Borderlands 2, which is definitely a plus!
The game's beautiful art style is an instant attention grabber and the contrast between the worlds of the living and the dead will have you switching back and forth for the sake of the aesthetics themselves. The scenery ranges from deserts, jungles, snowy mountain tops and even extends to el Infierno in the STCE version. Every zone but el Infierno has an entirely different scenery based on which world you are in. Switching between snow falling in the mountains of the living to ash rising in the world of the dead is an eerily beautiful contrast that provoked goosebumps.
Heavily influenced by Castlevania and Metroid, Guacamelee! STCE does a fantastic job of making the style its own and delivering a butter smooth experience. You can play through and finish the game while only performing minor combos, but early on in the game you are shown how to do the more advanced combos and they are an integral piece of a combat system that becomes more fleshed out and versatile the further you progress. The more you employ each new move the better and more fulfilling the combat system becomes, leaving you a master of this gritty hand to hand combat or a luchador if you will.
Local multiplayer is also done well with simple entry for the new player. Playing as the supporting character, Tostada, also delivers different animations with stylish kicks replacing the heavy handed Juan's punches.With also no need for real money micro-transactions, all in-game purchases are made with in-game currency that is more than abundant. The purchases vary from ability power-ups to costumes with different buffs and styles for both characters.
The game ranges from about 6-9 hours, and can extend much further than that depending on how thorough you want to be for trophies or achievements or in-game completion percentage. It's possible to finish the storyline without visiting multiple zones in the game. Also available in this remake is the aforementioned zone, el Infierno. This location includes a series of challenge rooms that allow you to hone your skills and learn more about the world el Diablo used to reign supreme over. Completing all the rooms with the highest medals will certainly have you playing the game about half as long as the story will, adding a moderate amount of time.
This is one of the best games out on our new generation of consoles and is definitely worth picking up and playing.