Indie Game Review: La Mulana

Our latest indie game review is for La Mulana, an adventure / puzzler / platform game that may or may not become a movie starring Harrison Ford. . .

Indie Game Review: La Mulana

The first thing to strike me when writing this indie game review is that La-Mulana has none of the tutorials, flashing objectives and other instructions that are supposed to make games accessible but which ultimately get in the way.  This is a good thing, we think, as the less distractions there are the more immersive the game feels.

La-Mulana throws you right into the action. On the first level you won’t be entirely certain where to go or how to get there. You’re in a 2D open world on an exploration a’la Indiana Jones. As you explore your environment you’ll find vital clues that will tell you where to go and what to do.

La Mulana pulls together the genres of platformer, adventure and puzzler, and combines those three genres with ease. It’s testament to the video game design skills of the development team that they’re able to seamlessly blend these genres. Everything comes together smoothly: you explore areas in platformer style then find puzzles that are naturally blended into the environment.  There are tons of secrets waiting to be unearthed too, which makes you thoroughly search through each location.

Puzzles take a variety of forms, ranging from riddles to breaking mysterious looking walks.

As you journey through the game you’ll find many tablets that hold important information that you need to progress. You can’t actually recall these items later, though, meaning you’ll need to write things down on a notepad. This could annoy some gamers, but those willing to truly get in the retro spirit may love the old pen n paper mechanic.

As you progress through La-Mulana you’ll pick up tons of items, weapons and power-ups. Though you’ll need to grind for gold occasionally, the economy works very well and most of the time you find yourself somewhere in the middle—not flat broke but not loaded either. Most of the time you’ll have the gold you need in order to acquire any required items. You’ll need to make sure you have the right weapons, too, as the bosses are a real challenge.

The difficult of La Mulana’s bosses comes from the fact that their vulnerable areas are hard to hit. You need to be extremely precise in your attack. In fact, the bosses are probably the worst part of the game. They require inhuman precision and will be more annoying than entertaining. Still, this is the one negative point that I have in this indie game review.

 The indie game review Overview

La Mulana is a very solid game that retro gamers are going to love. While the story isn’t that interesting and you probably won’t care that much about the history or La-Mulana, the basic gameplay is exceptional. Very few games bring together divergent genres as elegantly as La Mulana. The boss fights might not be perfect, but they’re the one downside of this game.

If you love a challenge and love retro adventure / puzzler / platform games, you’re going to eat La Mulana up.

Indie Game Review Score: 5 out of 5  

Paul Harrison

Paul M Harrison is an entertainment journalist, novelist, and blogger, and a specialist in the theory of storytelling. Paul Harrison can be contacted via his personal website or on Twitter or Facebook.

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