Helping his village to prepare for the Dia de Los Muertos festival, agave farmer Juan Aguacate’s world is upturned when Gran Carlos Calaca, ruler of the dead world, appears to throw the universe into disarray. Kidnapping his childhood sweetheart, El Presidente’s Daughter, Juan is killed but is soon greeted by Tostada and granted the power of a legendary Mask, returning him to the world of the living and lending him kick-ass luchador powers.
Never taking itself too seriously, Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition is a game riddled with hidden references. Racing through your Mexican surroundings, you’ll often find yourself stopping to have a chuckle at posters depicting La Mascara (a luchador whose costume is inspired by Majora’s Mask), Los Super Hermanos, Barrio Kart and engravings of Mega Man, with Donkey Kong and Pokémon statues also making appearances.
With a name that rivals the ludicrous titles that Capcom frequently bestow on their Street Fighter series ( which they themselves mocked in Dead Rising 3), Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition is every bit as glorious. It’s bursting with fan service, and this only continues throughout its entirety. Juan must break Choozo statues, themselves referencing Metroid in design, to empower his skills as a luchador with hidden wrestling techniques. These form the crux of the experience, not only strategising combat encounters but becoming a necessary requirement for conquering increasingly tricky platforming challenges.
Your fisticuffs with Calaca’s undead hordes begin fairly tamely, being limited to short successive combos. But, given time, you will soon have techniques deftly placed at your disposal. From the Rooster Uppercut, Olmec’s Headbutt, and the Frog Slam, through to the Dashing Derpderp, Goat Climb and Goat Fly, these more powerful attacks will have you shattering the bones of sombrero-wearing skeletons into oblivion. Colour co-ordinated, you will also need to put them to use to shatter shields that your undead foes summon to protect themselves, while coloured slabs that block your path will also need to be smashed.
A new Intenso mode is overly powerful, allowing players to escape any difficult combat scenario that they find themselves in. But it is the Dimension Swap ability that truly makes Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition stand out from the crowd, only rivalled by the Pollo Power which transforms Aguacate into a small chicken. Letting you switch between the land of the living and dead at the push of a button, this lends itself to fiendish puzzle-platforming. You will regularly fall to your death but, while your health meter retains some life, you will immediately be beamed nearby to try again. Certain sections can feel particularly brutal, but most will rise to the challenge after some persistence.
Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition promises an expanded version of the original game, running at a six-hour completion time for those that don’t pursue every diversionary side quest on offer. Co-operative play is also available, allowing another player to join in the skeletal carnage through using a Wii U Pro Controller.
Drinkbox Studios’ play on Mexican folklore is a hilarious treat, easily amounting to one of the finest, and quirkiest, additions to have graced the Nintendo eShop. Sublime art direction welcomes Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition’s vibrant colour palette, matched by relentlessly furious arcade-action that will keep you entertained throughout.
Version Tested: Wii U
Review copy provided by DrinkBox Studios