Sony recently showed off a slew of downloadable indie games at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, California. Among them was the colorful, humorous Super Metroid-inspired brawler Guacamelee. I played through a section of the zany 2D game, which included dimension-swapping and a dramatic chase involving a huge rampaging beast.

The PS3/Vita game has a heavy focus on combat and exploration. Up to two players use upper cuts and head butts not only to brutalize enemies, but also to unlock new sections of the world. The luchador protagonist Juan Aguacate also learns a wall jump that allows him to explore previously inaccessible areas. Collecting gold allows players to unlock new wrestling moves or upgrade health and stamina. My favorite mechanic shown off in the demo involves portals that link dimensions. Players encounter translucent, sparkly areas and whited-out enemies that can only be interacted with after leaping through a portal. This makes for some interesting battles and platforming segments where strategic portal use is required. At the end of the demo a screen-filling horned beast chases Juan, requiring players to use every trick they’ve learned to outrun the beast. Eventually Juan crosses a bridge over lava with an axe on the other side. Touching the axe causes the bridging to let out and the monster falls to its doom – a delightful nod to Super Mario Bros.

Guacamelee’s combat and platforming feels fluid and natural at this late point in development, but the presentation is the real attention grabber. The bright, festive Mexican-inspired world is filled with Dia de los Muertos decorations and skeletons wearing sombreros and ponchos. DrinkBox Stuidos’ latest doesn’t look quite like anything else out there, and that’s a good thing.

Guacamelee will be available April 9 on the Vita and PS3 for $14.99, and features Sony's tempting cross-buy, cross-save functionality. 

Read our previous coverage of Guacamelee.