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By SarahTheRebel On 29 Jul, 2013 At 08:15 AM | Categorized As Reviews | With 0 Comments

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Less than a month after releasing their first DLC, DrinkBox Studios announced the new level “El Infierno” for the amazingly fun PlayStation exclusive Guacamelee!



“There are farm animals and luchadores wandering through my workplace and I have no idea who to complain to about this” – Skeleton worker.

Players battle skeletal enemies in the bureaucratic nightmare of the Devil’s domain, where tortured souls are given never-ending paperwork, and the Devil is too chicken to hit the elevator button to his office without your help. See what I did there? Chicken?

I enjoyed that the set up for the level was intriguing and clever, per the DrinkBox team usual. I recommend talking to every skeleton you see.


Their last DLC was a costume pack, and this DLC is a new level of challenges, with unlockable costumes. There are also seven new trophies. I’ll warn you though, it is not a traditional new level, like many of us would want. Instead we have a basic level filled with seventeen challenge rooms. Each challenge room has the opportunity to score a bronze, silver or gold medal. The medals unlock the new costumes, and the new costumes make the levels easier, if you’re smart about it.

If you’ve played Guacamelee through and won the super special chicken ability, these levels may actually seem too easy for you, with only two or three providing a real challenge. However, since you only need ten medals each to win the costumes, you can actually just skip the hardest levels completely, leaving only the truly masochistic or trophy hunters to take on the challenge.

Personally, as a less skilled brawler who can never remember her combos, I found the challenge to be perfect. On my first quick run through of the levels I snagged nine bronze, two silver and one gold before getting frustrated and walking away. For a player on my level, this new DLC provides a few hours of content, as you constantly return to get a higher score. For a more skilled player, I’d say there’s about two hours of game time if you unlock everything on gold.


  • El Portero – A soccer goalie with a keen eye for style and a devastating throw
  • Alebrije – Harness the awesome power of these dream creatures to deal epic destruction, but players beware of the massive damage they will sustain themselves
  • Diablo’s Suit – Drain the life of enemies while looking good enough for an interview on Wall Street

Get the Alebrije costume and turn into a chicken. Try not to squeal with joy.

Final Verdict

Score: A-

El Infierno is worth the price point of three dollars, offering continuing challenge to Guacamelee lovers and pretty new costumes for fashionistas.

El Infierno is available now as a cross-buy download on the PlayStation Network and PlayStation Vita for $2.99 in North America and in Europe for €2.49/£1.99.

By SarahTheRebel On 1 Jul, 2013 At 08:37 AM | Categorized As Reviews | With 0 Comments

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Luchadores can now return to their hometown of Pueblucho dressed in eye-catching styles thanks to Guacamelee!’s first DLC, code-named Costume Pack. Normally, I wouldn’t review a costume, pack, but a.) I love Guacamelee! and b.) One of the costume packs affects Tostada, the female character.


So remember how I complained (mildly) about not being able to play as just Tostada unless I’m player two in my review? Well, now I can! Or as Juanita! JUST AS GOOD.

Additionally, the color schemes stay the same for player one and player two, meaning not only can I play as a blue Tostada, but player two can be a hot pink Juan! Or Tostado, the sexy, mummified Juan. The packs also come with matching outfits for the chicken transformation.


Besides just being pretty, the costumes change combat abilities, and there are new trophies available based on those abilities. You know my favorite is the trophy for beating Calaca as Juanita.

Character skins


Players will love the soothing caress of an always-regenerating health meter just as much as the soothing caress of their full-body chicken suit. Is that velvet? Just try to ignore the fact that stamina doesn’t regenerate as quickly.



Undead luchador not undead enough for combatants? Become even MORE undead! Gamers can tear through enemies with the implacable stamina of an angry, brittle bone-person, but don’t expect much help from health pickups.



Cats are barking and dogs are meowing! Tostada is dressed as a brawny wrestler! Juan is spooky and bandage-wrapped! These alternate forms of the main characters have tougher punches, but can’t throw for beans.



Costume Pack offers luchadores new challenges and trophies that make getting platinum look like child’s play. Put on the Skeleton-suit in the terrifying Caverna del Pollo, explore the countryside looking for the Chicken brothers, or showdown against Calaca while wearing only bandages to earn even more trophies.

juanita guacamelee

Final Verdict

While it may not be new levels, this is solid bang for your buck. It costs the same amount as normal costume packs do, but actually includes changes to gameplay styles and trophies for the costumes, so I think it’s totally worth the $1.99 price tag!

By SarahTheRebel On 11 Apr, 2013 At 09:51 PM | Categorized As Featured, PlayStation, Reviews | With 0 Comments

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This game is freakin’ awesome.

What game, you ask? Why, Guacamelee! of course! Guacamelee is an indie, 2-D platformer from DrinkBox Studios that melds features of Metroid, Outland, Castlevania, the cartoons of our childhood, and a healthy dose of The Emperor’s New Groove into one solid, action-packed game.


Inspired, vaguely, by Mexican culture, the game doesn’t take itself too seriously and hopes you don’t either. Players control Juan, a wannabe luchadore. Or, in my case, they play player number 2: Tostada, a luchadora. But I’ll get to that feminist stuff later.

Lovers of old-school platform gaming will delight in the many, many callbacks to other games, from Mario to Zelda, Megaman to Castle Crashers.


The core gameplay revolves around moves used in both combat and platforming. They’re color-coded and have awesome names, including the words derpderp and goat, so you know I was a fan. Enemies include all types of skeletons. Big ones, small ones, giant ones, fishy ones: the undead are out in full force.


Moves involve smashing, grabbing, and pile driving enemies into pieces, along with a dimension switch mechanic similar to that of Outland.

The puzzles and boss fights were actually pretty challenging, which is such a refreshing change of pace from the norm of repetitive battles or constant guidance. Guacamelee! features the Metroid-style open-world, which grows even larger as you gain new powers and backtrack to old areas. Sometimes my mind was just blown by what I was doing. These are the kinds of games I love: the ones that are challenging enough to give you a sense of accomplishment when you play well.

The game was probably about five hours long for a normal person, but I’m a loot maniac and a sucker for treasure hunting, so it took me about seven hours to get 80% completion. I felt that this was a good length for a game with such a thin story, but I’d love to see more levels added as DLC in the future.


The game offers boss fights that are actually challenging in the old-school way: learning to read your opponent, memorizing patterns, and learning by dying repeatedly until you figure something out. I missed this! And it is the perfect kind of game for a handheld like the Vita so that was another excellent decision, especially with the ability to cross save and cross play.

As for combat itself, the game has a surprisingly robust combo system! I got to the final level of combos before I finally walked away, but I managed to impress myself with the length and complexity of combos I was able to learn. And they helped! The further you progress into the game, the more combat tactics will come into play, as wave after wave of enemy, some with shields and some in other, untouchable, dimensions, delivereth the smacketh down on you.


“But Sarah, you ALWAYS put plot before gameplay in your reviews! What’s up?”

Well, I’m glad you asked.

You see, I want you to understand that this game is amazing and that I loved it, so I put the happy stuff first. The best part of this game truly is the actual gameplay, followed closely by the art and ambiance.

The plot, on the other hand, is the same tired, boring old trope dressed up in its fiesta best: rescue the princess from the bad man.


This is an indie game, so I could go light on the criticism here. Guacamelee! clearly isn’t out to change the world. It’s fun and challenging. So why did I have such a hangup? Well, along with the plot, there’s the way women in the game are portrayed and talked about.

Once again, I want to reiterate that I think this game is fantastic, but this was definitely the sour note in the chorus. I’m still pretty stoked that I get to be Tostada at all, so I’m not taking it out on the studio. This is more like the “I’m complaining because I care about this game and want it to go to college and grow up to be a productive citizen” kind of deal. It’s also just odd, because the hilarious dialogue made it clear that these folks know how to write.


The one interesting thing about the plot has to do with the ending of the game. There is no real resolution or discussion of what happened to Juan, who is treated like a second class citizen because, inexplicably, he is not a luchador. But there is no moral at the end, no need to say, “Hey you guys, it’s not fair that you love me now that I’m a luchadore!” That doesn’t happen. He just revels in it until the end, not seeming to care that he had to conform to their standards to be accepted. It seems especially odd because the beginning of the game had lots of foreshadowing that something’s not quite right with Juan, but it is never looked into – we only get a brief flashback that doesn’t explain much. That, along with a few other choices near the end, were pretty bold, so there was some great potential here for intrigue.

Art and Sound

The art is lush and gorgeous. I spent an inexcusable amount of time checking out the backgrounds and moving slowly through the game to let my eyeballs soak in the bright, beautiful glory that is Guacamelee!‘s art. I especially loved the little touches like Aztec shields and swords on ancient warriors and the motif of the hero holding the woman on a mountain top. The color schemes and little signs in the background were also perfect touches. The details were gorgeous, and I loved finding the HUGE amount of Easter eggs in the game.


The music was very Mexican-sounding, though that doesn’t mean it’s authentic. I found it rather repetitive and annoying after the first thirty minutes or so, which is unfortunate and made me feel bad for not appreciating horns more.

Another interesting choice was the lack of voices as well as the lack of voice or written speech for Juan, the protagonist. I probably wouldn’t have noticed that Juan didn’t speak, except that people kept asking him questions, and sometimes pretended that he had answered…but mostly reacted as if Juan kept silent. It was pretty strange.

On the other hand, putting on ridiculous voices and reading the other character’s lines was immensely entertaining. And, as I mentioned, the dialogue was mostly fantastic, with characters making me laugh out loud at some of the things they said. For example: “Like an orphaned cabbage, you rolled straight into my trap.”


Playing with friends is fun and natural. There is something supremely satisfying about brawler style fights with friends along for the ride. I also loved solving puzzles cooperatively: that moment when you figure something out and you get the hi-five going – you can’t get that by yourself…easily.


Sharing the screen was the right way to go, and as I’ve mentioned, I was overjoyed that player two is a female character. The only time it gets difficult are with moves that come later in the game, especially with dimension flipping. Fortunately, only one team member needs to make it to the next section, as it will automatically teleport the other player to the beginning of the next area if one person makes it.

In Conclusion: Go Get It!

My hangups with the plot and trope-d out women are nothing compared to the amount of sheer FUN I was having. Guacamelee! is not only eye candy, it’s challenging in a refreshing way. I can’t wait to dive back in with my friends!

Guacamelee! is out now for the PlayStation 3 and Vita for $14.99.


By SarahTheRebel On 1 Apr, 2013 At 03:18 PM | Categorized As Conventions | With 0 Comments

No GravatarI recently had the opportunity to attend PAX East for the first time. The event was packed and a riot of colors, games and people.


To give you an idea of how crowded it was (besides these crazy pictures), I really wanted to play The Last of Us demo, but the line was already hours long at 10:20 AM… ten minutes before the show floor actually opened up! Luckily, the line for the DuckTales was much shorter.


PAX East had multiple sections, including a massive table top gaming area, a console and PC gaming area, the expo floor and an Indie game section. The indie games section was my favorite, filled with innovative and experimental games by developers creating games that they themselves actually wanted to play. Some of my favorites were Guacamelee, Transistor and Secret Ponchos.


Secret Ponchos: Indie Gold!

Secret Ponchos stole my heart as a quirky little spaghetti western top-down shooter with awesome music, lush art and a simple premise: this town ain’t big enough for the both of us. The game really gave me the feel of the old Westerns, as I hid behind a wagon and reloaded my gun, praying that the other outlaw was far enough away for my melee to recharge. I spoke with Eduardo Echeverria, the interface developer, who told me that the game will allow you to customize your character as you gain a reputation, essentially allowing you to create your own outlaw. He also revealed that they are developing a female character. Check her out on the far right and check out my preview article for more information on Secret Ponchos.


Saints Row 4: The Darling of PAX East

Of the big name games, Saints Row 4 promises to be the most outrageous, with a gun that allows you to dubstep people to death and the admission that there would have been a dragon you could ride if they’d had enough time to fit it into the game.

Players control the President of the United Saints (which you can import from your old game save) and must battle evil aliens in a computer generated world using only their super powers and wits. And guns. And monster trucks. Etc., etc., etc.

Check out my preview article for more information about the upcoming sequel to Saints Row the Third.

Panels, Parties and More

Besides the show floor and gaming areas there were also more panels than you could shake a stick at! Check :23 seconds in to see my lovely face at the TGS Podcast panel, for example. There were also parties like the one Twitch hosted and fun hangouts like the BioWare Base.


Despite the lack of many big name game releases, I still had a great time at PAX East and can’t wait to return to PAX Prime!