Guacamelee Hands-On: Super Metroid Libre

By Kris . June 14, 2012 . 12:01pm

Guacamelee makes no attempt to mask its love for Super Metroid. The protagonist, a Mexican named Juan, has his own take on Samus’s wall jumps (although explained less elegantly than in Super Metroid) and his own take on the morph ball (Juan adorably transforms into a chicken). At one point, I destroyed a Chozo statue (it was referred to in the game as such), prompting an angry goat to turn into a dimension-shifting wizard and teach Juan how to travel between two dimensions with L2 and R2.

 

Okay, so maybe some things are different.

 

The key element that separates Guacamelee from its predecessor is the combat. Juan’s combat is mostly limited to square, but he can knock enemies into the air and juggle them, rolling around with the right analog stick to dodge attacks all the while. The circle button had a couple of special attacks mapped to it. An uppercut, performed with up and circle, which I thought made for a great launcher, and a belly-flop of sorts, which was a handy followup. These two abilities were also used in area traversal. The uppercut acted as a handy makeshift double-jump, and both were capable of breaking certain blocks that blocked progression.

 

When an enemy has been stunned, Juan can grab them with triangle and toss them in any direction (optimally at other enemies). Interestingly, these throws seem to disregard dimensions, so enemies tossed in one dimension can harm the silhouettes of enemies in the other.

 

Now that I’ve mentioned dimensions a few times, it seems appropriate to talk about the dimension-shifting mechanic. When Juan travels between dimensions, certain platforms and blocks materialize and disappear. This means that certain bits of platforming require you to be constantly shifting dimensions so you can progress. It was interesting to have to wall jump towards the outline of a block in one dimension, shift dimensions mid-jump to make the block appear, then jump from that block and shift dimensions to eliminate a wall that blocked my progress half a second before.

 

Combat would also utilize this mechanic, throwing multiple enemies at you in different dimensions. When you were outside of an enemy’s dimension, they’d appear as either a black or a white silhouette. You couldn’t hurt them, but they could hurt you, so combat became a constant dimension-switching balancing act.

 

The last boss, the aptly-named "Flame Face," was an exercise in dimension-switching. While he remained in one dimension (shooting his pistols at 45-degree angles), he called in minions in both dimensions. Every so often he would start pouring lava into the room, requiring me to switch into the other dimension in which it was just water. After dodging in and out of dimensions and punching Flame Face, my demo was over.

 

Guacamelee will be released for Playstation 3 and Vita.

 

Food for Thought:

The game’s writing is pretty funny. For instance, when I first met Flame Face, he shot the ground repeatedly to show off…but couldn’t fight me because he wasted all of his ammo on the ground.


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  • kupomogli

    Unless it’s open world style, about the only element that makes you think Super Metroid in this game is the wall jump, which was previously on games such as Batman NES, and Strider NES prior to being on a Metroid game.  The elbow crash into the wall is really pushing the limits on saying it is pulling what it has from Metroid, especially considering that it seems they’re more directly pulling from Richter on SotN with the uppercut, and the elbow crash or downwards crash being as much of a representation in that directions that you can make.

    • Kris

      While the demo I played was linear, perhaps I should have specified that the full game is “Metroidvania.”

      There’s also a Chozo statue and a morph ball mode, so the influences are there…

    • Kris

      While the demo I played was linear, perhaps I should have specified that the full game is “Metroidvania.”

      There’s also a Chozo statue and a morph ball mode, so the influences are there…

    • Asura

      It resembles Outland more than anything to me.

      Though practically any sidescrolling 2D game today is called Metroidvania.

  • http://www.siliconera.com Jenni

    The dimension shifting you mentioned is making me think of Mighty Switch Force for some reason.

  • http://www.siliconera.com Jenni

    The dimension shifting you mentioned is making me think of Mighty Switch Force for some reason.

  • Strain42

    Is this like a PSN game or is this getting a physical release? Either way, this is a game that has my interest.

  • Strain42

    Is this like a PSN game or is this getting a physical release? Either way, this is a game that has my interest.

  • Solomon_Kano

    This is sounding pretty sweet. Considering that it’ll be on both PS3 and Vita, I hope it’ll be one of those “buy once, play on both” deals. Either way, I’ll probably get it for my Vita.

  • Göran Isacson

    A luchadore exploring ancient Mayan temples filled with papier mache “Day of the dead” style dolls. This game could not be any more stereotypically latino if it TRIED, and I think I kind of love it for it, if only for the fact that the last time I saw something with this cool art-style was Grim Fandango. And I do love me some papier machie block-graphics, just wish I could see this in motion.

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