Two Wii U games with incredibly long titles.
Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition
I am going to go ahead and get this out of the way first: I do not enjoy Guacamelee as much as most others seem to.
Guacamelee was first released in 2013 as a PlayStation exclusive, but quickly garnered much critical acclaim for its unique take on the classic Metroidvania formula. After being ported to personal computers later that year, developer Drinkbox Studios decided to bring the game to all next generation consoles in the form of Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition – including on Wii U.
The game itself is a 2D action platformer with a focus on combo-driven combat. You play as Juan, a luchador who is trying to save El Presidente’s daughter from the evil Carlos Calaca. In case you have not yet noticed, Guacamelee is heavily influenced by traditional Mexican culture, which makes for a very interesting game world considering very few games have explored that type of setting before. The game’s visuals and soundtrack seem very much inspired by Latin America and helps bring forth the game’s high presentation value.
As I mentioned before, Guacamelee’s gameplay puts much focus on combat. When you first start out the game, Juan is only able to perform very basic attacks, but as you explore the game world, new skills will be unlocked allowing Juan to reach places he had previously not been able to access. The combat feels very good initially, but soon becomes too complex for its own good. Tedious kill rooms and boss battles are scattered throughout Guacamelee, breaking the flow of what would otherwise be a very satisfying, fast-paced experience.
Platforming is also cumbersome in this game (as with most games of this type), but instead of leaving it as a secondary feature, Guacamelee puts platforming at the forefront with numerous sections involving pure running and jumping. The platforms themselves seem almost haphazardly placed, with some literally mere pixels out of normal jumping range. These sections grow more and more complex as enemies become more and more prevalent, making platforming a wearying task.
In fact, the whole game felt like a test of patience. By the time I had reached the final boss, I could not play any longer. For far too long I felt as if I was fighting against the game – and I ultimately let the game win. It is not a bad game per se, but there are certainly many things that could have made it much, much better.
Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition is available for download on the Wii U eShop today for $14.99.
Bit.Trip Presents Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien
Gaijin Games first rose to popularity with their six Bit.Trip games for Wii. Each game presented a unique take on the rhythm game genre while sporting a colorful, 8-bit look. Bit.Trip Presents Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien, released in 2013, is a direct sequel to one of these six games, Bit.Trip Runner.
Runner2 is a rhythm game that takes much inspiration from endless runners as Canabalt. The goal of the game is to help Commander Video reach the end of the level without hitting any obstacles. Obstacles come in all sorts of arrangements, from fireballs to stop signs, and each can only be avoided using one of Commander Video’s many moves, including ducking, kicking, pulling up a shield, or jumping. As the name suggests, Commander Video is always moving forward, forcing players to think ahead and test their reflexes in the game’s more difficult stages.
Despite its simple premise, Runner2 has some surprising diversity across its six worlds and dozens of levels. Each world is stylistically unique, and every so often, you will encounter a new obstacle you have never seen before. Many levels include alternate paths that may lead to secret exists, while others reward players with more points. Another cool feature is the inclusion of unlockable characters, which adds some visual variety for those who want it.
Of course, one of the most controversial issues with the Bit.Trip games is its difficulty, and Runner2 is no different. Although the addition of checkpoints is a nice gesture, Runner2 is a hard game. As the level design grows increasingly complex, the game’s zero tolerance for error becomes more frustrating than fun, no matter how satisfying it feels to complete the hardest level. Thankfully, the game allows you to switch difficulties in order to cater to your needs.
Still, Runner2 is undoubtedly fun and visually captivating, even if obnoxiously difficult. There is a sense of purity when it comes to this sort of game, and it is hard not to appreciate that.
Bit.Trip Presents Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien is available for download on the Wii U eShop today for $14.99.