Year: 2013
Developed by: Drinkbox Studios
Published by: Activision
Platforms: Everything
#258
Feeling Like: Lucha Libre

Some “make Henry Skey buy this” algorithm ensured this game was created.

I love professional wrestling, I love Metroidvanias. There was zero chance this wasn’t going to work for me.

What an incredible sense of style Guacamelee has. Every song, every stage, every character encompasses Lucha libre, Mexican culture and folklore that I previously didn’t know much about. I learned, I laughed, I made my rivals lament. The soundtrack, wrestling moves and platforming ensured this would end up on the 500, though I am surprised it’s this high.

Although…is anything that high yet? As I rapidly approach the halfway point, I’m constantly reminded that each subsequent entry brings me closer to finishing the list…and also that I enjoyed 257 games MORE than Guacamelee. That’s a ton. There are too many great video games. Why was I so foolish as to think I could rank even 10, let alone 500? Much like the old man below, I fondly remember a much more innocent Henry who thought this would be a fun project that I’d complete in a year or two. Now, I feel like an inter-dimensional traveler of seven planes.

I beat Guacamelee almost six years ago to the day (how is 2016 six years ago??) so it’s not exactly fresh in my mind. I’m actually sort of surprised how little is coming to me. I’m forced to dig up my entry on Backloggery to jostle any memories I can.

Another great metroidvania style game. Fantastic, Mexican theme with catchy music (although no one track stood out). Amazingly fun gameplay, combat felt VERY tight and I piledrived nearly everything in sight. Final 2 bosses are super fun, Jaguar guy and Calaca. Goat guy was dope, amazing references to other video games (Chozo statues, Wario, Castle Crashers, Mario Bros, Strongbad to name a few). Switching between worlds was great, very forgiving. Solid the whole way through. Viva Juan!

Ha, the piledriver comment definitely brings a smile to my face. You have options of finishing enemies with various maneuvers, but unless the game forced me, it was piledriver after piledriver. How often do I get to use that in a game? It’s no Tombstone, but various WWE/ECW clips constantly invaded my mind whenever I pulled it off.

All the classic Metroidvania traits are here. Areas you can’t access at first, moves you gain that help with combat and traversal. Morphing into another creature. Backtracking to a previous area for rewards. Boss fights. Escape sections. It’s all here and I don’t think I’ll ever tire of the formula. Throw a different coat of paint on it, make it co-op, make it scary, make it weird, I couldn’t care less. It’s ingrained into my DNA; 2d platforming and exploration is something I started with at five years old on the original Nintendo and I can’t stop now. It didn’t matter that I’d played a dozen iterations of this game previously; I’d never played a Metroidvania that was steeped in Mexican lore starring a Lucha libre wrestler that used melee, grapples and (naturally) piledrivers to take down enemies.

I can hear the trumpets now, egging me on to complete my journey, turn into a chicken, warp to different worlds, uppercut my way to high ledges and be the king of Lucha. Viva Juan indeed!

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