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Review: Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition

Posted by on August 1st, 2014 | 2 Comments | Tags: ,

In my review of the original Guacamelee!, I granted it the title for 2013’s game of the year. A year and a few months later, I’m glad I had the opportunity to play through the retooled version. Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition is a must-play for anyone who missed the original version. For those who are familiar with the first, enough has been added this time around to warrant another purchase.

As far as I’m concerned, Guacamelee! is a mainstay in both the platformer and the beat-em-up genres. In completing STCE, I had a chance to simultaneously discover new content and replay the portions that make the base game a classic. Guacamelee‘s platforming is wildly creative and often challenging; its fighting frenetic yet strategic. It takes attributes of the hybrid Metroidvania genre and molds them into a statue of a game; a work that stands on its own. But enough with the extolling.

Find a list of the major changes and additions below.

Changes

  • Slight graphical effects: Not surprisingly, STCE looks better on the PS4 than the original game. Characters’ shadows are cast against background layers, additional NPCs populate towns, and more. Loading times seem faster, too.
  • Fighting controls: The grappling controls have been slightly changed. In STCE, in order to throw an enemy, you simply need to hold the directional button. Pressing a face button performs a grapple attack (suplex, heel kick, etc.). At first this change was a bit jarring, but I acclimated quickly and the current system works just fine.
  • Intenso: By clicking in both L3 and R3, your character enters Intenso mode, which makes him much stronger and faster. The Intenso meter increases by taking down specific enemies and busting barrels. It doesn’t last too long once activated, but the game throws extra enemies at you during certain arenas, at which point it comes in handy. The addition of Intenso includes chests with chunks that increase your meter.
  • Sticky wall jumps: I’m pretty sure your character sticks to walls more easily. Another wall-related change is that instead of having to hold a face button to stop sliding (triangle, I think?), you just hold the directional button toward the wall. It’s a bit of a paradox – user-friendly for those who aren’t pro wall-jumpers, but counter-intuitive for those who are used to typical wall-jumping mechanics (think Mega Man X). After ‘attaching’ to a wall, not pressing a button will start Juan on a downward slide, from which you can jump, attack, or whatever.
  • Multiple game save slots: (3), because why not. This allows for different games at different paces can take place. It’s cool that you can now juggle between a Hard run and a Normal 100% run.
  • Dual currency system: Gold coins still act as the main means of upgrading skills and purchasing heart/stamina chunks. The newly added silver coins are used for costumes. This system adds an additional layer to an already bulbous onion of a game.
  • Enemy health bars: Health bars now appear over enemies’ heads when being pummeled. It’s an added convenience to know exactly how many more punches will take down those gigantic skeleton enemies.
  • Unblockable attacks: In Guacamelee, red attacks couldn’t be dodged. They now can be, which off-puts the balance of the galaxy as we know it. In order for our planet to not implode, Drinkbox have added new attacks that can’t be dodged. They’re purple.
  • Shadow Mode: Allows Juan to switch planes instead of switching the entire world’s plane. It’s going to take a bit of getting used to, but I could see how it would be especially useful in 2P mode.
  • Elite enemies: There are some decked out enemies that teleport at random. It’s a bit annoying, all things told, but I guess it’s just another way to ratchet up the difficulty. Some of the elite enemies are truly nasty to deal with.

New Content

  • New areas: The Canal de las Flores is a raft gauntlet that takes you to a new town then to Pico de Gallo. The townsfolk talk of a heroine who acted as a brave savior during a volcanic eruption. I’m pretty sure it’s also Tostada’s home town, which adds a bit more flavor to her character. New areas mean new quests, chests, and humorous quips from big-headed NPCs.

  • New enemy types: A few new enemies litter the plains of Guacamelee. Fish, a beatboxer, and more add extra variety to the already full lineup of enemies in the game.
  • New boss: Plot-wise, the Trio of Death is actually the force behind Calaca’s skeleton army. As a boss battle, you basically play a rhythm game against the trio, dodging and assaulting in tune. It’s difficult but fun, as most of the original bosses are.
  • El Infierno: While not necessarily brand new, this batch of DLC challenges for the original game comes included in STCE
  • Mysterious store button: What could it mean? Where could it go? Expect more STCE content in the coming months. Fingers crossed for a playable mutant blob!

For those who skipped down to the end of the review to see the score, it’s a five out of five. For a graphical interpretation of this metric, check a bit lower. Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition is required playing. Somehow, the game’s button intensive control scheme – this new version now uses every button on the DS4 (except motion) – doesn’t restrict its playability. For example, my girlfriend just recently beat Flame Face (the second boss), and she had trouble with Little Big Planet 2 not long ago. The six+ special moves are doled out then practiced in a way that seamlessly teaches the player how to navigate even the most intricate platforming and combat sections of the game. And they get rather intricate, trust me.

Here’s a playthrough of hard mode on PS4. It netted me a number 20 spot on the leaderboards. I know, I was disappointed as well.
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

In the comments, let us know what Guacategory you fall into:
Played the original and STCE
Played the original and passed on STCE
Skipped the original but played STCE
Skipped ‘em both

A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.

General Info

  • Elite red/yellow skeletons

  • XTgamerPatrick

    Played the original (+ Infierno) and passed on STCE until now but will get to it at some point.

    • Eric G

      I really enjoyed the Infierno challenges when they came out. Looking forward to getting the platty for STCE, as it contains a good deal more chest-searching.