While at PlayStation Experience 2017, I had the opportunity to play a demo for Guacamelee 2 with the team at DrinkBox Studios. If you’ve played the original Guacamelee on both PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita, or the follow-up Super Turbo Championship Edition, then you’ll already know about the fun tongue-in-cheek humor that compliments the solid action platforming gameplay. However, the development team at DrinkBox Studios has cranked “the picante meter” all the way up to max in its sequel to the 2013 Mexican folklore inspired game. Not only will fans be in for another challenging, yet fun action platformer, but they’re going to be getting something we didn’t know that we wanted… and that’s more chicken.
Pardon any of my upcoming chicken puns, but Guacamelee 2 mixes up a lot of the well-established original recipe of the first game in new and interesting ways. Not only is the whole game playable with up to four players cooperatively, but can also be done solo without any compromises in challenge. The spiciness of gameplay is going to be at an all-time high, with a lot of enemies appearing on screen and crazy abilities and special moves to deal with them.
The wrestling moves and powerful abilities from series hero Juan Aguacate are back once again, along with most of the other characters from the first game. However, Juan and his allies have a number of new abilities that you can discover as you explore many of the game’s newly designed stages.
The biggest change in Guacamelee 2 is the implementation of the Chicken Form ability with puzzles and combat. In the first game, players can take on the form of a chicken to navigate through tight areas, but were left at a small disadvantage while in combat. In Guacamelee 2 however, fighting as chicken is encouraged (and downright hilarious) in many skirmishes.
This goes hand-in-hand with changes made to the combo counter that appears on screen, which gives bonus damage with a higher combo count against enemies. Fighting as a chicken doesn’t seem as intimidating before as it did in the previous game, since now you can dish out combos and even grapple just as well as if you were in normal form while in combat.
But why continue fighting as a small chicken… when you can fight as a BIG CHICKEN?!?!? As ridiculous as that might sound, it’s an ability you gain when you build up your combo meter and momentum in Guacamelee 2. Juan and his allies will turn into a giant version of their chicken form and smash through enemies, knocking them across the screen in an all-out rumble. You not only do more damage than before, you become a fast moving tank amongst the enemies on screen. Like we said, “the picante meter” is turned all the way up to max here.
And did I mention there’s a Chicken Pope? Yeah… you read that correctly. One of the new characters you meet, who gives new abilities similar to the Goat in the last game, is a Chicken Pope that grants new abilities and humorous dialogue throughout the game. The design of this and other new characters keeps in line with Guacamelee’s fun self-aware humor, including the design and personality of boss characters. Speaking of which, new bosses will appear in the game and be as challenging as ever.
The boss fight in the demo I played mixed elements of platforming and bullet-hell gameplay in the fight. It was incredibly challenging, but fair and interesting once I learned the pattern of attacks to avoid. In co-op, these boss fights will have players working together to utilize their environment and each other to avoid attacks and overwhelm the bosses they are faced with.
Despite spending only a short time playing a small section of Guacamelee 2, I already want to see more of it. DrinkBox Studios promised that the stages of Guacamelee 2 will be bigger, have more enemies, and more puzzle platforming than the original. If you loved the first game, then everything being done for Guacamelee 2 is going to make you incredibly happy. The Chicken Pope guarantees it. Better come hungry to this outing, because Guacamelee 2 is definitely going to be extra crispy when it releases in 2018.