Mulaka is an action platformer with an occasional puzzle. The game is based around a bunch of different mythological tales in the Tarahumara culture. Tarahumara are a Mexican people who live in the mountains. In the game you actually visit areas that are renditions of real places that are important to the Tarahumara people; every place you actively go to, for the most part, is a real place. You play as Mulaka who is a Sukuruame, a sorcerer. He enacts as a warrior monk trying to save the world and the people who inhabit it. The world is being corrupted by something and it’s Mulaka’s job to convince the demi-gods to aid him. By doing so he hopes to find what is corrupting the world and to put an end to it to save everyone.
The game has 8 or so areas to visit; each has enemies, a boss, ghosts to speak to, and artifacts to find. The game isn’t overly hard save for a few platforming areas and a couple bosses have some seriously cheap as shit moves that they employ as a ‘fuck you’ to the player. It is what it is.
The combat is… well it’s not great, there’s a super soft lock for melee combat which is like 90% or more of what you use in the game. You have to be really close to an enemy and facing them for it to lock onto them, thankfully you can hit them without being locked on. However for some enemies it’s a pain to actually hit them and getting that close to them is hard because they jump towards and through you, namely scorpions, they’re a massive fuckfest. It also gets complicated when you get surrounded because the lock-on in general just fails completely at that point and you just get gangbanged which isn’t fun. You can lose your health super-fast in the game that way. The ranged attack has a finicky hard lock mechanic to it, sometimes it doesn’t like to actually aim at what you’re trying to aim at other times it pulls right to what you’re trying to aim at. However if you kill something and there’s an enemy behind it, it will stay locked onto the dead enemy until it’s body fades away, the enemy moves in front of it, or you move around the body, which is really REALLY annoying because there’s a large window for lock-ons because some of the enemies are rather small (Editor’s Note: You may call this annoying, I call it being ready for the zombie apocalypses. I mean, what other reason could there be for staying locked on to a dead enemy? Keep on your toes fellas). On one hand this is great cause it makes it easier to hit smaller enemies, but on the other it means you can’t really aim beyond them after you kill them until their body fades out. As such picking things off at a distance takes a lot of time.
There is something cool about combat though that I really loved, you have 3 health squares that get chipped away at one at a time. This mechanic is based on a belief the Tarahumara people have, that men have three souls and women have four souls. So each health block is a soul and when it disappears you see a soul flow away from Mulaka’s body. You do have health potions you can make that bring you back 1 full block of health if you’ve lost a soul you see it get pulled back into the character when you use a health potion, it was really awesome. I’ve never seen a game do anything like that and I just really liked that mechanic it was cool looking though it is hard to see since you’re usually in combat which is really fast paced when you’re losing health.
Platforming is pretty good in this, as you play the game you unlock ways to continue platforming in areas that you could reason. You get gifts from the demi-gods that give you unique abilities which are: flying, climbing branches, breaking giant rocks, swimming, and freezing things. These abilities are used after you obtain them til the end of the game they also allow you to find items and ghosts to talk to in previous levels. The flying mechanic is used a lot and some of its areas are really hard to do because to use any of these abilities you have to use magic and it’s a constant use of a very limited amount of magic, if it runs out you fall. Because these sections get longer and longer there are orbs that you can fly through that gives you more magic so you can stay flying, but you have to actually fly through them, not above, not below, but through. And sometimes the game doesn’t like you being at the right height which makes this a massive pain in the ass sometimes. Most of the time these mechanics get strung together, work really well, and are super fun to use. When it’s not fun it’s always because the flying mechanic is finicky and you fall because magic runs out.
The game is 12-20 hours long. The monsters aren’t too hard to kill most of them tell you exactly how to kill them with their bestiary and it’s usually pretty obvious, hit the glowy thing (Editor’s Note: I really want to link to that E3 clip, but what little self respect I have is stopping me from becoming a memelord. Oh, no, I did it anyway… fuck.), the same goes for bosses. The physicals are overall pretty good so platforming is really solid other than sometimes the flying is finicky as fuck, sometimes the swimming has a hiccup too but that’s not common. Overall I have to say I personally rather enjoyed the game at least most of the time, the rest I was muttering obscenities towards the flying mechanic for dropping me for like the 500th time.
Mulaka was developed by: Lienzo
$20.00: Kill them dead, or lose your soul…s?
A review copy was provided by the developer Lienzo.
darkmikasonfire has awarded Mulaka The Indie Gamer Team Seal of Approval