Guacamelee! 2

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Guacamelee! 2 Game Poster Image
Tough but rewarding luchador adventure through dimensions.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Rewards strategic thinking and perseverance. Lightly and satirically explores Mexican culture, including the Day of the Dead and lucha libre wrestling.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Juan and his friends are clearly heroic in both action and intent, but their standard means of solving problems is to fight bad guys and smash obstacles.

Ease of Play

Starts off relatively easy, with plenty of scenarios designed to teach specific abilities and techniques. But later parts of the game can be frustratingly hard, requiring lengthy, precisely timed button combinations. No difficulty options or settings.

Violence

Players attack cartoonish humanoids and fantastical creatures with punches and throws, causing foes to disappear once defeated. The player's character respawns instantly when beaten.

Sex

So-called "breast physics" makes some characters' breasts move up and down in an exaggerated manner.

Language

Occasional mild profanity, such as "hell."

Consumerism

This is a sequel to the smash hit indie game Guacamelee!, and could lead new players to seek out and buy the original.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Tequila is mentioned, and a scene takes place in a bar with bottles of alcohol lining shelves in the background.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Guacamelee! 2 is a downloadable side-scrolling running, jumping, and fighting game for the PlayStation 4 and Windows PCs. It stars a luchador (Mexican wrestler) who must travel between the dimensions of a realm known as the Mexiverse to locate relics and defeat a growing darkness. He and his friends represent good and fight only evil characters -- a mix of cartoonish humanoid and fantasy creatures -- using punches and throws, eventually causing their foes to disappear. While there's not much in the way of mature content, parents should note that alcohol is occasionally referenced, some of the female characters have unrealistically bouncy breasts, and mild profanity (such as "hell") appears infrequently in text dialogue. Keep in mind, too, that this game also grows to become extremely challenging, requiring players to master many abilities and techniques in order to succeed. Patience and perseverance are a must.

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What's it about?

GUACAMELEE! 2 picks up with our hero, a luchador named Juan -- champion of the Mexiverse -- a few years older than when we last saw him. He's a loving father and husband who's a little bit past his prime, having put on a few pounds and lost his fighting edge. But he's called back to action when a new dark force intent on ruling both the living and dead worlds begins causing havoc across all the Mexiverse's timelines, forcing Juan to once again don his mask and take up the fight against evil. He explores various temples and dimensions in search of relics and abilities that will help him defeat his enemies, becoming better equipped with each passing stage as he learns to break through obstacles, climb walls, navigate multiple dimensions in real time, and even transform into a powerful chicken. His skills, health, and stamina grow as the game progresses, as does his selection of luchador costumes -- some of which serve as completely different characters for players to try. Up to four players can play cooperatively at the same time, each with their own character as well.

Is it any good?

As a hardcore action platformer, there's very little that this sequel does wrong. Guacamelee! 2 gives us a wealth of finely tuned combat options and special abilities that must be wisely used in a variety of challenging and sometimes ingenious scenarios. Some of these are scenes where various dimensions scroll across the screen, altering the type and lethality of foes and hazards in the environment. New types of challenges and abilities pop up so frequently that there's little time to grow bored. And it has style to spare, thanks to its colorful Mexican luchador theme, as well as a heaping helping of pop culture references to everything from indie darling game Limbo to cult hit TV show Community. For the right player -- that is, someone who relishes a challenge, enjoys spending hours mastering unusual game mechanics, and likes to have a good giggle along the way -- it's an utter joy from start to finish.

For others, though, it could prove more frustrating than fun. Guacamelee! 2 does a good job teaching players the ins and outs of various skills, but eventually you'll have to use them with expert timing and in rapid succession in exceedingly harder situations. Some scenarios and bosses will probably take dozens of attempts before you successfully beat them. And you can also expect to do lots of backtracking through completed areas as you return to obstacles you couldn't move through because you lacked the proper ability or technique. It can get repetitive. But that's exactly the sort of game that the developers wanted to create. And for players of a similar mindset, Guacamelee! 2 could prove one of the most satisfying such games they've played in a long time.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Guacamelee! 2 affected by the cartoonish visuals and the lack of graphic content? Could there be another means to address the issues in the game apart from violence?

  • Guacamelee! 2 forces players to become experts with its fighting and traversal systems in order to achieve success, but does mastering these skills make you feel more satisfied when you eventually win, or just frustrated?

Game details

Themes & Topics

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