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Platinum Review – Guacamelee! (PS Vita)

My second Platinum was the first one I ever earned on purpose: after realizing that I ended up with The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season one by accident, I decided I should go for one in a game I actually enjoyed playing.  Guacamelee! is quite special, which is why I reviewed it as highly as I did.  In fact, I like it so much that I’m sure I’ll eventually buy it again for the PS4 next time a sale rolls around.

Unlike the unmissable Platinum in The Walking Dead, Guacamelee! demands a lot more attention to complete it.  There are a fair number of collectibles in the game, as well as some challenges that border on crazy.  Thankfully, playstationtrophies.org exists, which has made my Platinum quests a great deal easier.

As before, here are my most noteworthy trophies:

Best Trophy: Licking His Wounds (Bronze) — defeat Jaguar Javier.  I found this fight to be especially rewarding given its toughness (but also its fairness).  This guy will annihilate you if gets his hands on you; there’s a very good strategy you really need to stick to in order to win.

Worst Trophy: El Savior (Gold) — access the alternative ending (collect all orbs).  I found the process of finding all the optional orbs to be grueling and masochistic.  The amount of precision platforming required to reach a couple of these orbs is outrageous, with the constant threat of having to start a long sequence all over again if you make even one mistake.  Also, I do find it regrettable that this trophy dramatically changes the ending for the game; in fact, it’s the better of the two options, so you’re really obligated to go after this one.

Special Mention Trophy: Cock of the Walk (Bronze) — defeat an enemy as a chicken.  The very idea of this is not only hilarious, but it’s also something you would never attempt otherwise.

Rating: A — just as I rated the game.  I found this Platinum to be enjoyable overall, the El Savior trophy notwithstanding.

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Written by Michael

24 August 2014 at 11:01 pm

Posted in Games, Reviews

Tagged with , , ,

Snap Judgment – Guacamelee! (PS Vita)

DrinkBox Studios’s Guacamelee! is simultaneously one of the funniest, charming, challenging, frustrating, contemptible but totally worth-it games out there.  In an era of 3D gaming, it’s incredible to see a 2D, side-scrolling action platformer work so well and make so much sense.  DrinkBox Studios’s decision to set the game in Mexico, steeped in that locale’s culture and rich mythology: the main character, Juan, is an agave farmer who has been empowered to become a heroic luchador to complete his quest.  There are even shout-outs to the Olmec civilization, as well as the Spanish conquistadors.  The game’s music feels appropriately colored by Mariachi influences, too.  In this sense, Guacamelee! feels unique and special in today’s gaming landscape.

I also love the way Guacamelee! harkens back to its heritage with spiritual nods to Super Mario Bros., including a sequence where you defeat a dragon-like boss by jumping onto an axe, which in turn destroys the bridge beneath its feet, a la King Koopa; amusingly, a character just past this beast apologizes and lets you know that your princess is in another castle.  Indeed, the core plot of Guacamelee! is a save-the-princess quest (though, in this scenario, she is the daughter of El Presidente, and the one who kidnapped her wants to sacrifice in her a ritual meant to merge the worlds of the living and the dead to lord over everything).  All the while, this game maintains huge amounts of humor, from goofball slapstick and general silliness, to fun double entendres and puns.  (The list of Special Moves you gain as you progress through the game bears witness to this, with such entries as Rooster Uppercut and Goat Climb.  The best-named one I won’t spoil here.)  And while the plot and characters are ultimately simplistic, they are well executed and married with the game’s excellent platforming and combat gameplay.

Despite wanting to scream into a pillow as I failed the more difficult parts of the game over and over again, completing Guacamelee! absolutely feels worth your time and elevated blood pressure.  I’ve enjoyed it so much, in fact, that I’m playing through it a second time for the Platinum Trophy, which is something I never do.  A

Update: Platinum achieved on 10 April 2014.

Written by Michael

7 April 2014 at 10:16 am

Posted in Games, Reviews

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