Guacamelee! 2 - Review
It still works? Yes, it still works, and also very well. Is it better than the first episode? I would not say. It's worse? But no, we are there. It is a sequel that can no longer be followed. Juan, the hero of Guacamelee, has been standing still for some time now, after saving the world for the first time (or better: the Mexiverso). But suddenly a new danger looms over his and several other timelines: our hero must therefore work to restore order in all possible dimensions.
Speaking of dimensions, exactly like its predecessor, Guacamelee 2 is entirely in 2D, both for the graphic style adopted and for the game mechanics. It works like the old platform games of the past, and has, as we said, a structure from metroidvania, or a game that (like Metroid and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night) is based on a very large and fully explorable map, as long as to gradually unlock new skills that allow you to reach otherwise inaccessible places.
From an artistic point of view we are again faced with something extremely pleasant. The aesthetics of Guacamelee 2, as well as that of the whole series, is of an exceptional taste and blends perfectly with the "plot" and "lore" of the game, both full of so much Mexicanness and an overflowing dose of nerdy irony . The result is, in my opinion, adorable. And the music that accompanies the whole is perfect in integration with the other elements just mentioned, but also exceptional in an absolute sense. Mexico flows really powerful in this game: few products have such a strong and peculiar characterization.
I also really like the gameplay, especially with regards to the fighting game component. Juan doesn't have a number of moves to envy a Street Fighter or Tekken fighter, but he knows what he's doing between attacks, dodges, combos and special moves. And the feeling of the blows struck is excellent, at the level of general taste (very important thing for me), as well as the precision of the controls, the reactivity and consistency between the various things that happen in a fight. In Guacamelee 2 we fight very often, both while we move normally around the game world, facing the enemies scattered on the map, and in more defined moments, in which the game "stops" and pushes us to necessarily focus on eliminating all the enemies present, or all the waves of incoming enemies.
The fighting game part of the DrinkBox game is experiencing a good progress during the adventure, characterized both by a series of evolutions in terms of game design of the clashes (from the simplest / easiest to the most complex / difficult), and by the acquisition of new special moves well distributed along the highlights of the plot. The fights were probably my favorite element of the game, as far as gameplay is concerned (in second place after the artistic component, by far). Nice the level of challenge of the clashes, excellent satisfaction after passing a particularly tough group of enemies, or one of the 4-5 bosses in the game (also these are on average well done).
I liked maybe a little less the platform soul of Guacamelee 2. Not that it is badly made, on the contrary, it basically manages to create an alternation with the fights that generally gives the game an excellent overall rhythm. However, as regards the difficulty curve, in this case there is a slightly less satisfactory balance. The design of the platform parts is often at least interesting to observe, but it does not always translate into perfect game moments. Sometimes, in fact, some sections are quite frustrating, and this is perhaps a warning to underline quite a few times to players who don't have much patience.