First Impressions – Guacamelee! 2 (Nintendo Switch)

It’s always tricky making a sequel of a beloved game… it’s tough to create that balance between the charm of the original while also bringing in new aspects that surprise and delight but don’t overwhelm the heart of the game. After seeing the crowd reactions to Guacamelee! 2 at PAX East, it looks like Drinkbox has managed to pull it off—and we’re pretty darn excited.

Of course, the first impression most folks get when approaching a Guacamelee title is the excitement of the colorful visuals, and there’s no shortage of that here in the sequel. The Luchador slash Aztec artwork theme is spot on in its theming and presentation, and the detail is even stronger than in the first game.

The basic formula itself hasn’t changed—it’s still a Metroidvania style title with a massive world and reams of wrestling moves in the combat. There’s your standard progression with bonuses as you move through the game and level up your attacks—stamina, coin, etc—but in this title they’re unlockables via a skill tree that’s been enhanced from the system in the first game.

The enhancements via progression are applicable to characters and players alike, so that playing with friends won’t be incredibly unbalanced, for example. The demo at PAX East already had a number of these enhancements in place—like the grappling move to get across gaps, for example—and it became quickly clear that these new elements allowed the game designers to create a more dynamic gaming experience this time around.

Speaking of dynamic gaming experience, we’d be remiss not to mention the chickens. Yes, we said chickens. There’s a special plot element in this title that asks the player to uncover the chicken Illuminati who are secretly controlling the world… and uh, the game does take this pretty far. There’s even a chicken pope who speaks only in riddles. Unlike the first game, the chickens here take on a pretty big role that’s purposeful rather than just being a source of cute entertainment.

And when it comes to entertainment, what’s more fun than playing games like this with a group of friends? Guacamelee!2 supports multiplayer co-op (up to four players), which actually adds a new level of difficulty as you’ll need to work together to navigate dangerous terrain and environmental hazards. Death results in a respawn time where your team will be all alone, and if you both die at once… well, it’s not good, but it’s not the end of the world. Yet.

One of the big complaints about Guacamelee, the first title, was the difficulty level of the boss fights, and this time around the team has improved on this without losing the integrity of the boss fight concept. Rather than trying to brute force your way through a battle, players need to learn how the boss character use their surroundings to attack and face the challenge in unique ways. It’s specifically designed to make you think—to challenge rather than frustrate—which is what players were asking for in a sequel.

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Dave
Author: Dave View all posts by
Dave will tell you that he likes to play video games, this is in fact a lie. What he really likes to do is buy games, and leaving them sitting unopened on his shelf. He is a monster.

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