[Beyond PlayStation] Guacamelee! 2 Review
After releasing first on PlayStation 4, highly anticipated sequel Guacamelee! 2 is finally available on Nintendo Switch. Learn more about this must-have in our Guacamelee! 2 review!
In Guacamelee! 2, Juan Aguacate has been in retirement for a bit now after his journey ended with the defeat of Calaca. In fact, this sequel gets you started by dropping you right at the final battle of the previous game, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night style. And then reality hits: Juan has gained some weight after hanging up the luchador mask, and his daughter is ready for playtime so Juan needs to be the hero Esperanza (her daughter) and Juanito (his son) truly need. It’s been seven years, and a lot has changed for he who saved the land!
Gone are his mighty skills, his extended health bar, his speedy roll to keep him away from danger. He can still run (a tad slowly), he can jump (quite high for someone his size), and he can still punch and kick as if not time had passed. Your new quest is… a bit simpler than what you took on the last time: go out to the store to get some avocados so that you can bring them to your beloved Lupita since she’s making tacos. You will get to open up the map with the – button so that you can see where you need to go, and this is how your adventure begins as you make your way to Pueblucho.
When you finally find some avocados, the you know what hits the fan: large and dark void-like start to appear all over town, and esqueletos enter through a portal door. Luckily Juan still has his strength, so after you make short work of the nasty esqueletos, you will get the visit from Uay Chivo who asks that you follow him into the Darkest Timeline since the entire Mexiverse is in danger! The game then has some fun, dropping you into Pueblimbo, a dark and gloomy alternate reality that pays homage to a renowned indie release. It then takes you to a triple parody stage that pays homage to River City Ransom, Double Dragon and Bad Dudes – with Rivera City Ransom, Triple Dragon and Bad Hombres billboards included.
Once you arrive in the Darkest Timeline you will learn see a scene where many Uay Chivos are present below where Juan’s statue used to be in Pueblucho, all while the same big dark voids loom over them. In this timeline, there is a guy called Salvador who is very bad, but he wasn’t always like this. He’s the luchador who defeated Calaca in this timeline, but as years passed he was corrupted by the power of the mask, and it was he who destroyed the statue to procure the Golden Relic that was hidden inside. The Golden Relic is one of three artifacts created by the God of Time, and if it is not recovered the entire Mexiverse will be no more! Because of this, you must meet Mask Guardian Tostada in Los Manglares so that you can claim the mythical mask that will make you as powerful as ever – minus your skills.
Once you get back to being the mighty luchador, you’ll realize that the game’s controls are similar to what you got to use for Guacamelee! You can move with the left analog stick or the D-Pad and can dodge roll either by pressing the ZL button or by using the right analog stick. You can jump with the B button, attack with the Y button, grab with the X button and use your special move with the A button (once you get some). You can swap dimensions with the ZR button and can use your Pollo power with the L button – more on this in a bit. You can also use a single Joy-Con to control the action and give the second Joy-Con to another player for some fun local co-op – you can play with four players in total with drop-in and drop-out local co-op if you want to!
The game will then throw you into a short tutorial section that will teach you the basics so that you can get the hang of the gameplay mechanics. You might know that you can dodge roll out of harm’s way, but you will learn that you can also dodge when jumping, which will give way to some crazy fun platforming sections where you’ll need to run, jump, dodge, attack, grab an enemy to throw them at a distant enemy so that you can get the timing just right to jump and dodge through a nasty thorny vine as soon as you land – an obstacle that is keeping you from the exit to that section.
Battles in the first Guacamelee! were one of the higlights of the game, and it is back for the sequel with some tweaks here and there. The basics are your regular attacks, your pop-up attack by holding up when pressing the Y button, and performing a three hit combo by mashing on the Y button on the ground or in the air. On top of this, each of your skills can be used to add an extra powerful hit into the mix, and you will eventually start running into enemies with colored auras which act as shields that must be removed by landing a special attack of the corresponding color. Add to this having to battle enemies that exist in the plane of the dead, forcing you to change between realms to keep your streak – and your odds of survival – going, and you have a hectic but fun combat system. One final tip: you can’t dodge white and purple attacks, so be ready for those!
As for the game’s upgrade system, you will search for trainers around the world to be able to learn new stuff to aid you on your quest, that is if you have enough coin to make said purchases, and if you have completed the miscellaneous objectives they have set out for you. One trainer will, for example, ask that you collect five heart chests and pay 3,000 gold to unlock a skill that will allow you to gain more health when you defeat an enemy, while another is obsessed with combos and will require that you perform a 25-hit combo 25 times and pay 4,500 gold pieces to get a skill that will reward you with extra gold for every hit after a 25 –hit combo has been achieved.
As you defeat enemies you will be rewarded with coins that can be used to purchase things at the stores you will find during your new quest. You can also get coins from chests, as well as from the piñatas at the end of the arena-style sections where you will be trapped in a room and won’t be able to carry on until you’ve defeated all enemies. Some chests of a different color will also contain things such as heart pieces you can collect to increase your health bar so that you can take more hits before you are defeated, or stamina pieces that will increase your overall stamina once you find enough.
Guacamelee! 2 on Nintendo Switch includes an in-game list of achievements to complete to motivate those of you who like to 100% games – and who might also be trophy hunters on PlayStation 4. Sure, the list is in-game as the Nintendo Switch does not have an integrated system like PS4 and its trophies, but it’s still fun to try and complete all story objectives and all side-quests to get your 100%. The first one will unlock after you complete the introductory final boss fight, with a big chunk of the achievements unlocking as you progress in the story and defeat other bosses, with some extra objectives to spice things up here and there as needed.
Ever since I finished Guacamelee! I hoped that DrinkBox Studios would give us a sequel to its most excellent Metroidvania. After waiting for more than five years, I’m happy to report that the wait has been well worth it, and that Guacamelee! 2 is a bigger, more fun, action-packed and even better-looking sequel that improves on everything the prequel did to give us another must-have game that you have to buy today on Nintendo Switch.
This Guacamelee! 2 review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by DrinkBox Studios.