Back in 2013, a unique side-scroller with a Mexican flair arrived for the PlayStation 3 and PS Vita. The game was Guacamelee! and the titular character was called Juan Aguacate. Four years later, Gucamelee! 2 was announced and I got to play an early demo of the game.
In the original game, Juan Aguacate dies trying to save his kidnapped love interest (El Presidente’s Daughter) at the hands of a skeleton charro called Carlos Calaca and ends up in the land of the dead. While there, a mysterious luchador named Tostada gives him a mask that transforms him into a mighty luchador and the ability to navigate through the living and dead worlds.
It is up to Juan to stop Carlos from offering El Presidente’s Daughter as an offering to control both the living and dead worlds. In a Metroidvania style layout, you make your way through 2D labyrinths learning new combos, abilities and defeating all kinds of bad guys.
With this same spirit, Guacamelee! 2 arrives. I played the early demo of the game during PlayStation Experience 2017, and it retains every ounce of charm that made the first game so much fun. You still weave in and out of the living and dead worlds, battling certain villains that only take damage in one particular world.
According to Graham Smith, a co-founder of the company developing Guacamelee! 2, DrinkBox Studios, the skeleton of the game is complete, but they’re still fleshing out the gameplay and some the new mechanics they added. It can be played from beginning to end, but there’ still some quirks that need to be fixed.
The demo I tried out was quite stable. Making my way through the side-scrolling world delivered vibrant visuals and engaging characters. There’s still no voice acting, but that enhances the quirkiness of the game more. The characters’ charisma is delivered through peppy text bubbles.
While most of the gameplay is the same as the original game, grapple hooks, ledge climbing and powering up as a giant chicken are some of the new additions that help you out on your journey. It takes a while to get used to the new grapple hooks. I found myself zipping up quickly only to accidentally fall back into the burning lava, but after a while, I got used to the new controls.
Four-player gameplay is available this time around. Previously, only two players could play as Juan and Tostada. The third and fourth player will now be green and purple versions of Juan and Tostada.
Overall, Guacamelee! 2 stays true to what made the original so charming and fun with added controls that make the game much more enjoyable.
There’s still not concrete date Gucamelee! 2 will be released, but it will happen some time in 2018.