PAX East 2018: All Glory to The Beloved Chickens in Guacamelee 2

Released back in 2013, the original Guacamelee was arguably one of the most unique and impressive metroidvania games among the indie circuit, seamlessly blending together exploration and bawler/fighting game elements along with dazzling artwork inspired by Mexican culture, all with a terrific sense of humor. It’s legacy has even led to the main character, Juan, making several cameos in other indie titles as well. So now with a sequel on way, how could DrinkBox Studios possibly attempt to top their original masterpiece when in comes to Guacamelee 2?

The answer: Chickens. Lots and lots of chickens.

Okay, so there’s more to it than that, obviously. But chickens do play a larger part in both the gameplay and plot this time around, taking the forms of both a mechanic where Juan and Tostada can transform into chickens, and story where there’s a secret Chicken Illuminati lurking in the shadows. Even the playable demo emphasized the focus on chickens, with a flamenco-styled villain utilizing them to hunt down items they needed for nefarious deeds. Chasing them into a temple, we proceeded with the standard and effective side-scrolling beat-’em-up until Juan and Tostada couldn’t proceed any further. So naturally, it’s at this point that a large mystical chicken appears to turn our heroes into chickens themselves. It happens.

Naturally, this transformation doesn’t happen without a reason, though. Juan and Tostada’s chicken forms (which you can later switch to and from at will) allows them to access new areas and hidden secrets that can only be reached through their newfound small size or hover mechanic, creating what is described as metroidvania within a metroidvania as you explore even more mazes in your Kentucky fried form. Thankfully, not only does the chicken run faster, it still retains combat capabilities, meaning you can still go toe to toe with enemies, even being able to transform into a massive beast of a chicken at certain points and wipe the floor with literally dozens of undead minions. So it not only adds another bit of humor, but also opens up the game’s world even more than the previous installment.

A greater emphasis on chickens alone isn’t the only new addition to Guacamelee 2, of course. The shifts between the regular world and the land of the dead can now move around the screen, setting up several challenging platforming puzzles. A new Eagle Boost ability allows our heroes to launch themselves up into the air and across rooms at certain points, which was expertly showcased during a particularly stylish and intense boss battle. And while there wasn’t room to properly see it action during the demo, the upgrade system has been revamped, allowing you to learn different fighting styles and moves from various teachers throughout your journey.

Guacamelee 2 is shaping up to be everything that a great sequel should, keeping the style and gameplay that made the original a success while adding just right amount of new mechanics and content to keep things fresh, resulting in something that truly feels bigger and better. Guacamelee 2 is due out this Summer for PS4 and PC, and is sure to be a must-have for fans of the first game, metroidvania lovers, and of course, chicken enthusiasts.