Review cover Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition (PlayStation 4)
Official GBAtemp Review

Product Information:

  • Release Date (NA): July 1, 2014
  • Release Date (EU): July 2, 2014
  • Publisher: DrinkBox Studios
  • Developer: DrinkBox Studios
  • Genres: Action/Adventure/Metroidvania
  • Also For: Xbox One

Game Features:

Single player
Local Multiplayer
Online Multiplayer
Co-operative

Review Approach:

My only experience of luchadores comes from watching the movie Nacho Libre and playing as El Fuerte in Street Fighter! Back in 2013 I was a little reluctant to try out Guacamelee! due to the theme and setting of the game, however it turned out to be a truly fantastic title and I enjoyed it so much that I actually got the platinum trophy for it on the PS Vita!
DrinkBox Studios first hit PlayStation consoles in 2011 with the underrated and fun indie title; Tales From Space: About a Blob. Two years later they gave us the critically acclaimed Guacamelee! on PS3 and PS Vita. Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition (G!STCE) is an expanded take on the original game with new story elements, abilities, areas, enemies, all of the original DLC and more!

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The right Juan?

Juan Aguacate is a Mexican Agave farmer who lives on and farms a small plot of land just outside of Pluebucho, the first town you visit at the start of the Juan's adventure where the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Festival is about to take place. Juan is madly in love with El Presidente's daughter and when she is kidnapped by Carlos Calaca, an undead skeleton bandit, Juan tries to rescue her from the burning El Presidente's Mansion and ends up dying in the process. Now in the Land of The Dead, Juan is approached by The Guadian of The Mask, a Luchador named Tostada who informs Juan that he has been chosen by the mysterious mask to become the ultimate wrestler! Once donning the mask, Juan transforms into a powerful luchador and the adventure of Guacamelee begins.

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Culture

Guacamelee isn't a serious story adventure, in fact it can be pretty funny. The game is filled with various throwbacks to the greats (and not so greats) of video gaming culture. Whether this is a poster for Los Super Hermanos (Super Mario Bros) in the background or a Chozo Statue containing Juan's next ability, the homage Guacamelee pays to its predecessors cannot be missed. The level design, enemies and music are all heavily inspired by Mexican lore and culture, and the bright colours throughout the tale are a great change from the usual browns and greys that dominate the majority of mainstream video games.

G!STCE falls into the Metroidvania class of games. Certain sections of the map are inaccessible until the latest item is found that grants the player new abilities enabling Juan to reach new areas. It is a linear adventure where to progress you must follow the latest map marker, however the game does reward exploration and a lot of the content won't be discovered until the last ability is mastered and the world is throughly explored post-game.

Traversing the world is when you really start to appreciate DrinkBox Studio's tight level design. As well as the genre standard double and wall jumps, each new ability Juan unlocks is not only used for combat but is also a way of movement throughout the world. These moves can be chained together and you will often have to perform a tight succession of well timed button inputs to make it across the next pitfall.

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Combat

As a luchador your main moveset consists of body slams, headbutts, suplexes and uppercuts. Like the special abilities these powerful moves can also be chained together creating some hectic fun and rewarding combat. Enemies can be weakened with normal punches and when they have taken enough damage they open up to various throws and slams. Juan can direct the trajectory of a throw so aiming the grappled undead charras at their evil buddies allows for the combo counter to go way up into triple figures.

Often the level will lock you down into a smallish arena where the game will throw a set number of fiends at you to beat down. Sometimes there are also enviromental hazards in the arenas allowing you to either mix up the way you dispatch the enemies, or take more care of where and how you are fighting so as to not take more damage or die yourself. When successfully clearing these arenas, you are rewarded with a huge pinata filled with gold coins, the new silver coins or a health, Intenso or stamina upgrade piece. Collecting 3 of each of these items gives Juan a longer health bar, an extra stamina block as well as adding to the overall completion percentage for that area.

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It's just a phase!

What sets Guacamelee! apart from other Metroidvanias is Juan's abilty to phase-shift. Once learned, the abilty allows Juan to shift between the normal every day living world and the Land of The Dead instantly at the click of a button. This leads to some very interesting level design that is sometimes puzzling but is ultimately a very satisfying and fresh take on the platforming genre. A wall that blocks your path in the normal world may not be there when you switch to the Land of The Dead, or a platform needed to advance will only appear when you phase-shift. Some of these phase-shifting sections can be very frustrating until you get the correct timing down, but when you finally make it past them you will feel like a platforming god! Portals also make an appearance and work the same way they do in Valve's Portal. You can't create them though, they are placed around certain areas and are usually part of an elaborate level puzzle used to get from point A to point B, possibly finding a hidden treasure chest on the way.

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Addition Edition

So if you have already played Guacamelee!, Is it this edition worth playing again? Yes and no... (I know that's not helpful!) I'm going to say yes if you have never played the game before, this is the definitive edition of the title and the new story elements, enemies and boss do not feel shoehorned into the game. It is a fine example of a Metroidvania and is a must have for any fan of the genre. I didn't care much for the first new area, it was mostly forgettable and I was hoping for more tight level design like what is found at the top of the Tule Tree. Luckily the second new map was full of sweet phase-shifting platforming challenge and is a pretty big area, probably one of the largest in the game. The addition of an Elite class of enemies is welcome, though they do not appear often enough throughout the adventure.

The Intenso guage is a new ultimate strength buff that you can activate when you have built up enough meter from damaging enemies. It's a nice addition that can get you out of some tough spots, especially when playing through the game's hard mode. Unfortunately hard mode is still locked by default and requires the player to complete the game's normal mode first. Hard mode actually feels way better to play through and may be the best way to experience G!STCE. Check out the first screen shot below, it looks like the developers feel the same way!

Shadow Swap is another new feature exclusive to this edition of the game. Instead of phase-shifting worlds, you can phase-shift just Juan himself, very useful for fighting enemies on the other plane without actually shifting the world.

If you already bought the Costume and El Diablo's Domain DLC for the original game, then this update may not feel that special and the new areas probably add about an hour or so of game time if you know what you are doing. If you have only played the vanilla Guacamelee! then definitley pick this version up. El Diablo's Domain adds a load of challenge rooms that are extremely tough to get a gold medal in and the new costumes all change Juan's properties, allowing him to gain more gold when defeating enemies or add more stamina at the cost of regenerating health.

Back in 2013, Guacamelee! took me around 7 hours to get 100% completion. This version adds an hour or 2 to that so you are looking at around 8-9 hours to get that 100% map. Online leaderboards for speed runs and 100% completion add replayabilty as well as 2 player co-op gameplay.

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-EDIT 01/07/2014-

The DrinkBox team mailed to inform me that you can actually unlock hard mode right from the start using the following variation of the Konami code:

Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, Square, Triangle, then click the Dualshock 4 front touch pad.

I highly recommend doing this for your first run through the game as it can be a little too easy otherwise!

Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition Trailer

Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition will be available on PS4, WiiU, Xbox One and Xbox 360 by the time you have read this review.

Verdict

What We Liked ...
  • Definitive version
  • New content fits seamlessly into the game
  • Great example and understanding of the Metroidvania genre
  • Rewarding combat and flawless platforming execution
What We Didn't Like ...
  • Hard mode locked by default
9
Gameplay
From the over-the-top brawling combat to the intricately designed platforming sections, the world of Guacamelee! is truly a pleasure to experience. There are a few side quests spread throughout the game which encourage the player to explore the maps and ultimately get that 100% completion.
10
Presentation
Everything in Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition is bright and colourful. The Mexican luchador theme may put some off but as a rarely visited theme in video gaming, the experience is memorable.
8
Lasting Appeal
Getting 100% completion can take up to 8 hours or so and then hard mode is unlocked. The game has a new set of achievements and trophies so going for that platinum trophy will require at least 2 runs through the game. There is also 2 player couch co-op where player 2 can take control of Tostada (player 1 can switch between Juan and Tostada in the single player mode). Online leaderboards for speed runs as well as 100% completion on normal and hard modes adds competitive replayability.
9.5
out of 10

Overall

G!STCE is an amazing achievement for an indie studio. The game is a perfect example of a Metroidvania style adventure and although it takes a lot of cues from its predecessors, it adds enough of its own originality to stand out from the crowd. I hope DrinkBox decide to bring back Juan and his world for a second outing in a sequel. For such a popular genre among gamers, it's surprising how few Metroidvanias actually make it out to mainstream consoles.
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The original game was awesome. If you haven't played this yet, you really need to get on it.
 
I really enjoyed this on the Vita too. I'm surprised that with the Mexican theme the Chozo statues weren't renamed to Chorizo statues.
 
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Reactions: T-hug
Although a good game, isn't a 9.5 a little high? The implication of that score is that the game is near perfection, and the fact that you list some cons but don't address them again when making your final scores is a little off to me. For example, I'd say that having to play through normal mode first unless you have the code to unlock hard mode is a bit of a con (especially as the only code given here is for the PS4 version of the game). I'd label the eight hours for 100% to be a con, as that does not say long or challenging to me, despite how the review tries to emphasize those points. Eight hours is not a long game. In fact, it's pretty below par unless the length of the average CoD campaign is now considered lengthy and par for the course. I'd say it's a con that the extra content doesn't really add much for anybody that has already experienced the game fully (base + DLC) before, making it so this is only a worthy purchase for the most part for those who have not played the game before. I'd say it's a con that the game is too easy on normal to begin with, as hard mode should not be the only way to actually make the game even remotely challenging.

You don't really account for the fact that not everybody may be interested in being number one on a time table on an arbitrary online leader board either, which really hinders replayibility for the many that couldn't care less about something like that. As well, you don't really have a time clocked for just playing through the game without making it a point to get 100%. If it's 8 or so hours for 100%, what is it for less? What if someone just ran through, non-completionist, and just played the game? Would they get only an hour less out of it? Three hours less? How about the fact that when talking about the new content, you specifically mentioned that some of it was disappointing or not implemented in such a way that it impacted the experience in any significant fashion?

I like your review, but I also don't like it. You didn't attempt to take an unbiased look at the game, but rather, it's so laden with bias that your scores are essentially worthless. I get that reviews can't be without bias, but it's always best if its minimized if you're trying to give an informed look at the game. I did get some valuable information out of it to make my own assessment, so your review was at least relatively thorough, but your personal views in no way aid me as someone who has yet to play this game, as you seem so desperate to make us like the game, you just sweep any potential problems under the rug at the conclusion. If I could pull out as much as I did just based on what you said, I'd say this game isn't as close to perfection as you may personally feel.

I'm sorry if I come across as judgmental and harsh, but if something is going to be advertised on the front page, I kind of expect more out of it.
 
Well the score is based on the whole package of this game, not what came before it. The original game was an easy 9 and this is improved in almost every way so I think a 9.5 is fair, and it's just my opinion.
I agree hard mode being locked by default is a con, and was in the con list until the devs told me you didn't have to play on normal to start with. However not everyone will read this and not everyone will get the code before playing so I have added it back to the con list.
This is an indie game from an indie studio sold at an indie price. 8hrs is excellent value in this instance, and I'm sure most people would spend more time than that on it getting all of the trophies and 100%.

The game is like nearly every Metroidvania where if you are just going from start to finish and know where to get the upgrades, you could probably finish it in about 2hrs 30mins. Please note that is just a guess as the first version of the game could be finished in about 2hrs. I didn't include this time in the review as you wouldn't know where to go the first time you played it and you wouldn't clock a time below 4-5hrs even rushing to try and finish the game.

Having played the base game, the DLC and this version, of course I'm going to give my opinion on whether it is worth it or not. And like I said, if you only played the base game or haven't ever played Guacamelee, then get this version, you won't regret it.
 
I snagged the Wii U version of this this morning and couldn't put it down. I'd played a bit of Gold on my laptop, but this felt so much better. Also, having a persistent map via the Gamepad's screen was quite nice, and being able to tap options or destinations when warping was rather useful too.

Felt that I should mention that the touch screen on the Gamepad was utilized pretty well: features were there if you wanted to use them but you didn't have to at all if you didn't want to. As it should be, really.
 
Review cover
Product Information:
  • Release Date (NA): July 1, 2014
  • Release Date (EU): July 2, 2014
  • Publisher: DrinkBox Studios
  • Developer: DrinkBox Studios
  • Genres: Action/Adventure/Metroidvania
  • Also For: Xbox One
Game Features:
Single player
Local Multiplayer
Online Multiplayer
Co-operative

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