With excellent platforming and hours more content than the original game, this is the best version of Guacamelee yet
Available formats: Wii U, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360
If you haven’t played Guacamelee yet, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Originally released last year for PC, PS3 and PS Vita, this Mexican-infused action platformer has tight, engaging combat, fiendish level design, geeky humour and a beautiful cell-shaded art style. Guacamelee is the stuffed piñata that just keeps on giving – and now PS4, Wii U, Xbox One and Xbox 360 owners can finally get their share with Super Turbo Championship Edition.
You’re once again on a mission to stop the evil charro Calaca from merging the land of the living with the land of the dead, but on top of everything that came before, STCE introduces two new locations, a new boss, new enemy types and a handful of new moves and abilities for luchador hero Juan.
The Albebrije is one of the first major foes you encounter
These additions aren’t mere salad dressing to the game’s already meaty amount of content either, as the two new areas are huge environments that are even larger than most of Guacamelee’s original play areas. The watery Canal de las Flores and volcanic Pico de Gallo make STCE by far the largest and most rewarding version of the game yet.
Both areas form integral chapters in the main plot, as story routes and power-up drops have all been rewritten to allow players to experience what each one brings to the fray. Canal de las Flores, for example, is a twisting warren of secret pathways, offering tantalising glimpses of treasure chests and power-ups from afar as you navigate its maze of disappearing platforms and saw-mill walls.
The opening boat ride into Canal de las Flores is one of the game’s highlights
Admittedly, your first visit to the Canal feels a little underwhelming, as despite an excellent boat ride battle early on, your limited array of abilities often prevents you from discovering its more challenging underbelly. We also felt the Canal’s platforming sections were a little flat, as only a handful of rooms asked us to use Juan’s moveset in particularly new and interesting ways.
Fortunately, Pico de Gallo plays much more with Juan’s dimension-hopping abilities, building on ideas introduced earlier in the game. There, a squeeze of the trigger button turned fire into water when jumping between the light and dark worlds, but in Pico de Gallo it turns deadly lava to solid stone platforms. At first, you can simply wait for the molten floor to rise and fall as you please, but soon you’ll have to switch dimensions twice in a single jump in order to bypass walls and land on solid ground again, making Pico de Gallo a worthy successor to the dextrous platforming sections found in the preceding Tule Tree section.
Elite enemies are even more deadly than before as they have stronger attacks and more defence
If this wasn’t already demanding enough, Pico de Gallo also introduces players to the new Elite versions of Calaca’s undead army. These are even more ruthless than their ordinary counterparts and can teleport round each room at will. This mean players have to be more economical with Juan’s special moves and stamina bar, as enemies can often lie in both dimensions simultaneously and require certain moves to help break their colour-coded shields. It certainly adds a hefty challenge onto what was already a fairly difficult game, but fortunately STCE gives Juan a new secret weapon of his own to help him fight back against this legion of super-powered foes.
The Intenso bar gives you a brief period of super strength once you’ve performed enough combo attacks or collected enough energy from certain barrels and enemy types. It’s a handy concession during heated moments of combat – particularly since Juan and optional co-op player Tostada bust out into new florescent costumes each time you activate it, but we do think it somewhat detracts from the game’s overall elegance.
Intenso mode gives you a period of super strength and a brand new costume
This is mostly because developer DrinkBox Studios does an excellent job teaching players Juan’s moveset in the first place. Outside of combat, for example, all your special moves are built intelligently into the game’s platforming sections, allowing players to familiarise themselves with the game’s mechanics in relative safety. As you perform an uppercut to reach higher platforms, or combine it with a dash punch to reach a ledge you wouldn’t ordinarily be able to reach with a standard double-jump, each move gradually becomes second-nature as you move from one level to the next. Many of Guacamelee’s side quest challenges are built around these abilities, too, so combat quickly becomes a natural extension of what you learn elsewhere in the game.
The Wii U edition of STCE also comes with the added benefit of putting the entire map on the GamePad screen, making it easier to keep track of your progress and scout out hidden passageways you might have missed. This is particularly handy in Canal de las Flores, but several other levels in the game have also been retuned and restructured, giving even veteran players something new to sink their teeth into.
Enemies in white lie in the opposite dimension, but they can still hurt you if you don’t take them out quickly
Guacamelee was already a fantastic game when it launched last year, but the Super Turbo Championship Edition refines and builds on its success to make a game that’s just as breathtaking to play again as the original was the first time round. With a feast of new content for both new and returning players, Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition is a must-buy for all console owners.
|Available formats||Wii U, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360|
|Price including VAT||£12|
|Supplier||Wii U eShop, PlayStation Store, Xbox Games Store|