The Metroid-vania style of video game seems to be experiencing a resurgence. Guacamelee! is just the newest of these games, which have found a home in the small, less than twenty-dollar downloadable space. And yet, for its size and price, Guacamelee delivers a truly immersive, entertaining, and often humorous experience that rivals many multi-million dollar AAA titles, and does so for a fraction of the price. Indeed, Drinkbox Studios has created one of the best games available on the Playstation Vita and easily one of the most worthwhile downloadable experiences to date.

                The first and most striking feature of this game is its art style. In the Metroidvania style, Guacamelee is a two-dimensional experience, but its vibrant colors and brilliant art direction allow this game to stand out. The protagonist, a luchadore named Juan, is stunningly depicted, and the world and its inhabitants are sharply drawn. The land is bright and inviting, and even when in difficult combat scenarios, the cartoony visuals are eye-catching and upbeat. The towns are crowded, busy, and full of life. The one negative is the inclusion of notorious internet memes in the background decorations. This can be funny, but it is also excessive and sometimes nearly insulting in the way only over-used memes can be.

                But presentation encompasses both visuals and music, and the soundtrack of Guacamelee holds up the promise made by the art. Mariachi music pipes through every scenario and makes every second playing the game feel that much more over-the-top and ridiculous, which is great. The game allows the player to take the role of an absurdly buff wrestler with supernatural powers and a sarcastically stoic silence, and the acoustic, up-tempo music acts almost as a surrogate dialogue for the protagonist.

                However, Guacamelee’s gameplay is where the game truly shines. The platforming is well-done; the jumping not too floaty and the levels never too frustrating. Later in the game, the platforming takes on puzzle elements which are just hard enough to give a sense of accomplishment to the player. However, the necessity of nearly game-breaking powers in these puzzle sequences makes them short, too short for my taste. It left me wanting more, especially considering the promise of a gameplay system involving parallel worlds that can be switched on the fly. And yet, the combat was satisfying albeit difficult. The combos were fun to pull off, and the hilariously-named special moves gave some of the most fun moments in the game when I successfully used them to their fullest extent.

                Although I wished Drinkbox would have included full voice acting, the story was silly and fulfilling, a good ancillary motivation to see the game through to its finish beyond just the fun combat and world exploration. After about five hours of gameplay, I finished Guacamelee and felt fully satisfied with the fifteen dollars I spent. I played it entirely on Vita and it was a fantastic experience, although it works brilliantly on the PS3 as well. It is a must-buy for the Vita owner looking for a fun game, or a gamer looking for a humorous platformer. It is not without its flaws, but Guacamelee is one of the most genuinely entertaining games playable on the Vita. Drinkbox has once again proved its ability to create a fully immersive experience for a bargain price.