Remember when Konami used to be the kings of making 2D platformers that relied on feeding the player upgrades that improved their mobility/traversal through the environment? I know Symphony Of The Night was heavily inspired by Super Metroid, but Nintendo never seemed good at keeping up with IP that wasn’t Mario, Zelda or Pokémon, and Metroid has always been a stepchild over there, and also has seen massive tonal shifts with almost each successive entry, hence why Castlevania is the example here, even if Super Metroid is a little closer.
Drinkbox seems to remember, and they’ve made a pretty cool title in Guacamelee inspired by Konami/Nintendo. You play as Juan, a simple agave farmer who is in love with El Presidente’s Daughter (I honestly couldn’t find what her actual name is, so we’ll stick with this), but when an undead matador named Carlos Calaca cockblocks you and leaves you for dead, it’s up to Juan and a magical luchador mask he recieves to save the day.
It’s a roughly 4-hour long experience, but it manages to feel just right and doesn’t overstay its welcome with the length, and the gameplay mechanics feel smooth aswell as the combat having a good learning curve to it, which good players could take advantage of to completely smash enemies, while folks like me were okay enough at the basics to make it work and still had a good time.
The game has a nice visual style, some funny jokes and dialogue, and the sound design felt appropriate, albeit not super memorable if I’m being honest. Overall I think Guacamelee is a great game, Drinkbox did a good job with it and you should certainly check it out, whether on PC, PS3 or PSVita.
Top 10 Runner-up: SteamWorld Dig
SteamWorld Dig might seem like a familiar concept to some, at least it did to me, until I realized that it was very similar to an old flash game I used to play called Super Motherload (which is getting remade and released on downloadable services I believe). In that regard SteamWorld Dig does a pretty good job, the basic gist being that you need to dig down from ground level, gathering resources along the way, and requiring you to surface in-between digs to unload, get more light, heal yourself or just upgrade your equipment.
There isn’t much to talk about regarding story really, you play a digging robot called Rusty who is exploring the ruins of ‘’The Old World’’, which seems to imply some form of post-apocalyptic setting for the game, which the present-day seems very wild-west inspired, albeit with robots.
The game started out as a 3DS game, which might perhaps explain the very simplistic nature of the mechanics, or even the very modest size of the game, even on PC (under 50 Megabytes), while still looking nice even on very high resolutions. The game is roughly 4-5 hours long, which probably is a sign that it was meant more as a game to be played in small chunks, being on 3DS originally, but I still think SteamWorld Dig is worth a go for anyone looking for a good game to play in small chunks, or even for longer expeditions, it still holds up just fine.