This is the second game that I extremely enjoyed during the month of August. I loved the first Guacamelee! and the sequel is even better in every fricking way which I will try to explain down below in a nice short review.
In the world of game reviews, it's extremely rare to get a review code a month before the release of the game. This was the first indication to me from the Drinkbox guys that this game would be special. The second indication was well, the studio's history of releasing quality games. The two Tales from Space games, awesome! Guacamelee!, awesome. Severed, awesome. So if they only put out awesome games, there was a great chance that the sequel, Guacamelee! 2, would be indeed awesome. (I will try to stop using that word, but no promises)
The game starts with a "Previously On" sequence where you get to play the final boss battle of the first game. But as it's just the start, the boss battle is extremely easy and from here you understand the tone, the cheeky humor, the awareness of the game and boy, you are in for a treat from start to finish. The game doesn't take itself seriously, it makes fun of itself, it makes fun of the characters, of its premise and pretty much everything that has been or is cool in pop culture.
I don't know if anyone else has said this, but Guacamelee! 2 gives Ready Player One a run for its money when it comes to Easter Eggs and pop references. It's filled to the brim with these things and I fricking loved everything. Spread out in the world you can find posters referencing Metal Gear, God of War, Black Panther and so many more "localized" in the mexican language. I totally lost it when at the beginning I saw posters for some of the games I fondly remember playing when I was a kid: Triple Dragon and Bad Hombres... you might not get the references, but I was laughing my ass off and I was only 5 minutes into the game.
Papa y Chico, Serpiente V. Ocelot, El Pantero and so many more that I have forgotten since it has been a while when I last played the game. But the references don't just stop there, the story itself can be seen as a reference to the premise of Infinity War. You still play as Juan, but just a couple of years later. A father now, chubby, a little bit grumpy, basically like all the dads, you embark the quest to regain all your luchadore's prowess, stop evil Salvador from collecting the three pieces of (I forgot) and save the whole Mexiverse, see where I am going with this?
The dialogues are fantastically written, on the nose but outrageously funny. And not just the main, critical path ones, but everything else. I lost it again when I came across the Old Spice guy. It's just too much fun, like everything. Everything, every piece of art/poster, every bit of dialogue, every crazy character you meet references something else, be that a game, movie, famous quote etc. The gameplay itself contains these instances like the game changes to an old-school turn-based Final Fantasy game for a while or a famous scene from Street Fighter can be found in the game. I can go on and on talking about all of these things, but I would spoil all the fun and I don't want to do that.
If you played the first game you know what to expect. All the luchadore powers from the first game are back with a couple of new additions. Since the game is a fully fledged Metroidvania, backtracking once you unlock a specific ability is highly advised since some of these areas contain some of the most hilarious stuff you can find in the game. Chicken, yes, you can turn into a chicken and you can kick ass and traverse between some of the small places found in the world.
Speaking of traversing, the way Guacamelee! 2 does it, it's kinda unique. Yes, you can unlock double jump, but that alone won't help you traverse this world. No, all of the abilities, uppercutting, dash-punching, headbutting etc. need to be used in combination with each other so that you can progress in the game. This is even more apparent in the challenge rooms which mostly are designed by Satan himself. And when I say challenge it usually is a traversing challenge, getting from A to B using all of the abilities you have unlocked. You will fail and I am not talking once or twice, more like hundreds of times. Think of these challenge rooms, in terms of difficulty like the Valkyrie fights from the God of War, totally optional, but when you beat them oh the satisfaction.
Oh, the game can also be played in four player co-op, but since I have no friends, I did not try it so I can't say how the difficulty scales. I guess you have to check it out for yourself.
Guacamelee! 2 is just fantastic and I am so so glad I got to play it and experience the hilarious creativity of Drinkbox once more. It's one of the best games that has come out this year and you should definitely play it, there are no excuses, go ahead buy and download it wherever it is available as you will not be disappointed. Thanks for reading!