Though the release of Guacamelee Super Turbo Championship Edition on Xbox One and 360 may be considered by some to be old news, seeing as the game has been on PlayStation platforms for some time, its arrival on Xbox One has the distinction of being the first debut game to release under the Games with Gold program.
Putting itself in front of the Gold subscribers in such a way could have been risky with a flawed game. Thankfully Guacamelee STCE is a fun and engaging title whose gorgeous presentation grabs you from the outset giving you a fun title worth investing time in.
The game plays in a similar fashion to exploring platformers from years past of the Metroid and Castlevania types. Backtracking happens often and new areas open as you make progress. For those wanting 100% completion, you’ll see quickly enough what areas will warrant returning to.
The game reveals the story as you make your way through the tutorial. Your character comes from humble origins who gains the skills of a luchador to allow them a fair bit of revenging and girl saving as is expected.
The platforming and combat are mostly straightforward. Buttons for attacking and jumping can be combined and work well in combat as some enemy types are vulnerable to certain combos. These moves aren’t difficult to master plus the enemy and level design provide hints on what to use when appropriate. Additional skills are accrued during the course of the game which is structured to ensure that progress is in controlled stages, preventing access to the whole game world from the beginning.
At times players will find some tricky situations which require a degree of controller gymnastics more akin to Streetfighter than platformer. Often they are to do with bonus chests that provide credits or skill boosts but in comparison to the rest of the game, these are jarring to deal with and can interrupt the smooth game flow. As most are to do with chests, they can be ignored which is a relief to a gamer less capable, such as myself.
The presentation of the game is marvellous. The designers take the chosen aesthetic and go all the way and it shows. The art and animation is vibrant, smooth and great to see in action. The cutscenes use the same style and help keep players in the world during breaks in the action. The music evokes old Westerns and Mexican themes and is a perfect fit to the game itself.
One small thing worth mentioning is the speed of loading screens, they are all extremely quick (3-5 seconds at most) and don’t get into the way at all. After so many games having 30+ second loading screens, this is a luxury that I’ve appreciated a lot.
The game itself will take most people six the eight hours to complete, perhaps less when using the seamless co-op mode. But that time is well spent as the game will keep players entertained from start to finish. It’s a great game to pick up and play and with its debut on Games with Gold, it’s fantastic value.