Fistful of fiesta
Juan Aguacate is a man on a mission. Once he was a humble, down-on-his-luck farmer; in Guacamelee! he is a barrel-chested hero, a wearer of striking tattoos, shiny masks and impossibly tight trousers, following in the footsteps of the legendary lucha libre Mexican wrestlers.
El Presidente's daughter – the most beautiful woman Juan ever laid eyes upon – has been kidnapped by Carlos Calaca, a glory-hungry fighter who made a pact with the devil. That Satan now finds himself trapped in the body of an annoyed rooster gives you some idea of the villain you must track down, as well as the sense of humour running through this adventure.
So as you bound through Mexicana themed villages decked with flowers and piñatas, kicking flapping chickens out of the way as you go, you'll come across washed up wrestlers, giant enchiladas and furious, attention-seeking witches. Offsetting the more familiar Mexican imagery is a laid-back, electronic soundtrack with just a subtle hint of mariachi music. Check out guacamelee.com for news of how to buy the score.
Initially Guacamelee! seems a bright, fizzing PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 3 platformer. Within just a few minutes, however, you'll find intelligent gameplay design and a cheekiness that makes Guacamelee! impossible to put down for long. And lots and lots of irritated poultry.
Chilli con carnival
One minute you're body-slamming flying dragons into the ground, the next you'll be flitting into a parallel world of lost souls and hidden passages. One thing's for sure, in Gaucamelee! your brain will take just as much of a pounding as Juan's enemies.
A heady mixture of pixel-perfect platforming and whirlwind combat, Guacamelee! is a 2D adventure that's anything but flat. After exploring the local village, you're thrown into the deep end as Carlos Calaca strikes. From then on you'll leap over pits of deadly spikes, switch between the worlds of the living and the dead and risk splitting your prized luchador costume to save El Presidente's daughter.
Stalking haunted forests and ancient caverns, Calaca's undead minions evolve from simple guards to multi-limbed, sword-toting assassins, often with colour-coded shields that require specially learned moves to breach. Get a friend to help you out in co-op mode on the PS3 version of the game – you can even use your PS Vita as a second controller via Cross Play. Your reward? Huge piñatas stuffed with cash for new wrestling moves.
As you combine finding mariachi band members and building epic enchiladas with swatting aside sombrero-wearing skeletons, you'll realise that Guacamelee! is a finely honed brawler with a real sense of adventure, style and fun – just like the flamboyant wrestlers it adores.