La-Mulana is a 2D action-adventure game with a large focus on exploration. You are an archaeologist named Lemeza Kosugi, who is looking to uncover the ancient secrets of a place called La-Mulana. As you travel through La-Mulana and its surrounding areas, you’ll fight monsters, dodge traps, unlock treasures, and solve riddles.
First things first, I want to get some major bug issues out of the way. If you install the game and play it normally, there will be a few major problems. The game will freeze when you try to change any settings (resolution, switch control settings, full-screen mode, etc) and when you try to save the game, it freezes. When you play the game on PC, make sure to “run as administrator” and it will fix these problems. Aside from this, there were no other noticeable bugs.
So how is La-Mulana? Well, it does everything right as far as controls go and any mistakes you make are your fault. Though I would recommend playing with a gamepad as it works a lot better than the keyboard. The areas you explore are diverse with varying colors and backgrounds. But perhaps the most alluring feature of La-Mulana is the music selection. Along with each area comes great background music which sets the mood and gives off that “I’m on an adventure!” feel. It was definitely the highlight of the game for me.
Perhaps the trait La-Mulana is best known for is its difficulty. While enemies at the beginning have typical attack patterns, later ones become more diverse and complicated. Boss battles are particularly tough as they deal a lot of damage and each boss monster has different patterns of attack. I can safely say the game does live up to that impression. However, exploration is a major element of La-Mulana as well, but I don’t think it fares as well as the combat portions.
My main problem with the exploration is how time-consuming it is. You can wonder for hours trying to figure out what to do, only to realize you missed a specific spot or that you are missing a key item which is in another area. The game is just about luck sometimes as well. For example, I was at what seemed like a dead end and by mere chance I walked through the wall into a place that unlocked a treasure I needed. It can be fun to explore La-Mulana, until it halts progression or is based on luck. I dislike using guides or walkthroughs, but this is a game in need of one.
Though, if you’re like me and are sick of getting lost, Time Attack mode is something to like. After picking a difficulty, you go through a series of fights with bosses across the game. There’s plenty of challenging battles to go through and there’s no worry as to whether you have the right items or not.
La-Mulana is a good game with challenging action portions, as well as an amazing soundtrack. However, exploration element draws out the adventure too much and resulted in a lot of frustration for me. I will still give this one a recommendation though, as there is fun to be had. You just might want a walkthrough handy to avoid frustration.
Summary: La-Mulana is a fun adventure with challenging boss fights and a wonderful soundtrack, but it’s easy to get lost and aggravated when exploring the world.
Verdict: 7 out of 10