Now this was filling.

You might judge me for the food puns, but know that I do it out of love. But, okay, let's talk game. You're here for the game. It's Guacamelee 2, sequel to the first, and if you want the super short version here it is: Better in every way than the original, and that was a pretty solid game, go get it.

Still here? Details, then. Do you want premise or gameplay first? Well since text is a fixed, linear medium I guess it's going to be premise. The whole Guacamelee series is set in what I would best describe as the world that lucha libre peers into. Every hero is a masked wrestler of some stripe, and our protagonist Juan is no exception. Fresh off of the first game's climax, he was able to finish his fight, go home, be with his family...

...And then the guy let himself go in times of peace and plenty. So when things begin to stir that threaten not only his home, not only his family, but the entire "Mexiverse" of alternate timelines and twisted possibilities, he's got to get back into shape real fast.

It's certainly not the worst justification I've ever heard for why you don't have all your cool powers from the last game anymore.

But what sort of powers are they, and how do you use them? What's the gameplay like, I hear you asking? Why, it's part of that oh so descriptive genre, the Metroidvania. If you've never played one, I am genuinely surprised, but the pitch is simple: 2D action-platformer, open explorable world with lots of things you can't get past without certain power-ups or abilities, you earn those abilities throughout the game.

The most central gameplay gimmick that separates Guacamelee 2 from most of the other games in the genre, is a simple one, and it's right in the name: All of your abilities are melee oriented. Most of them are even kind of wrestling themed. There's some light exceptions to both of these rules (double jumping is not very melee, and turning into a chicken is not very wrestling-themed) but I'll tell you now, there is no way to fire any kind of ranged shot in this game. If you want to put a bullet into a foe, you must become the bullet.

So how's it play, in practice?

Pretty damn good, I'd say! Juan is a really responsive character, with a decent moveset even at the baseline. Aside from your basic ground and air combos and the like, you've got a set of grapples to really bring in that wrestling feel. Once you open a foe up, you can throw them around with ease, and later unlockable techniques let you really put the hurt on.

The game actually puts more of a central focus on combat than a lot of Metroidvanias, too, with new areas often making you stop for a Lucha battle your first time through. These little combat challenges test various skills, from basic brawling to dealing with aerial foes to turning environmental hazards to your advantage.

But where things get interesting, in my mind, is when you compare this to the first game. Because, see, I really liked the first Guacamelee. I thought it was a solid little game, but its single biggest problem was that it was slight and brief, over before I was done with it and kind of too easy for most of the experience.

None of that is true in the sequel. Oh no. It starts off nice and low and lets you get used to things, but even early on, you've got these little optional challenge rooms to collect heart or mask pieces(for health and stamina, respectively) that give a real solid chunk of platforming to chew on. And the very last dungeon stands out as just plain brutal at times.

But in a good way.

And I haven't even touched on the trainers system, where you can learn extra, optional enhancements to your moveset from a series of trainers by meeting little requirements, which get you things like extra wrestling moves, bonuses for combos, and incredible power on your special moves.

Or hell, the unlockable costumes hidden throughout the game, some of which are amazing(notice how much time I spent in the fancy suit) and include an entire set of women you can play as.

There's a lot of real, genuine meat in this game, and it's fantastic. If you take one thing away from this review, it’s that this is a really great game with tons of good stuff in it.

Now I've got to bring you down. Let's talk some flaws. There actually aren't that many, but they're there.

One, the controls are sometimes a bit fussy. While it's pretty rare that I utterly failed to get Juan to do what I wanted, I had some times where a dodge's timing was off because of the inherent fuzziness of the L2 and R2 buttons being triggered, or times when some wall-rebound abilities just didn't want to go off right because I didn't hit the wall properly.

Two, and I'm not even sure this is a flaw, but... The game's kind of silly. I mean, I'm sure you gathered that from the premise, and it's certainly not as meme-heavy as the first game, but if that kind of stuff bothers you and you need your games to be dark and gritty, you're not gonna get that here.

But really, these are nitpicks. So long as the pitch, or some silliness in the dialogue don't totally throw you out of the game, this is just such an excellent addition to its genre that I can more than overlook a few control hiccups here or there.

You absolutely should give Guacamelee 2 a shot, as soon as you get the chance. It's worth it.