The announcement of Guacamelee! 2 was a bit of a surprise last year, and based on the demo we played at GDC, it’s shaping up to be every bit as good as its predecessor.
The demo featured in Sony’s booth at GDC 2018 took place in sort of a temple where our favorite farmer-turned-luchador, Juan Aguacate, is in pursuit of El Muñeca, a red clad menacing mariachi-looking character who looks like the deceased Ernesto dela Cruz of Coco fame.
On that note, like the original, Guacamelee! 2 doesn’t appear to take itself seriously at all, and while the art style was about as smooth and crisp as we can expect on the PS4, its look sort of does make you question whether or not anything was inspired at all from the hit films The Book of Life and Coco–not like of that is a detriment to the game’s look, because both of those have superb art styles that pay great homage to Mexican culture.
That aside, the gameplay remains as crisp as it has ever been. Though the game is widely known as a Metroidvania, the level I played through felt more like a straight-forward, action-based platformer. Attacking felt good while the grappling and jumping all felt polished and responsive.
The game even showed some unspoken humor when we came to a statue holding an egg, in the same way statues in the sidescrolling Metroid titles held Samus’ morph ball upgrade.
The power-up we came across turned Juan into a nimble chicken that can traverse through small crevices while also using a dash move that can break pieces of the environment to open up new paths. The most challenging part of the level actually required seamless transformations into both regular Juan and chicken Juan while moving from point A to point B with an environment that changes depending on a scroll of the screen.
Eventually, we came to a boss fight with El Muñeca that tested our skills with dodging, jumping, and attacking, and while nothing was overly difficult, it definitely featured enough challenge that required us to sit back and understand enemy movements. Before we knew it, chicken Juan was in a clucking celebration.
Guacamelee! 2 is scheduled for release this summer on the PS4. DrinkBox Studios hasn’t confirmed a release for other consoles, but they haven’t ruled one out either.
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