Review by KillerCrono599
"I regret not playing this earlier..."
This is a game that has been under my radar for quite some time. However, after playing it I officially feel as if I have put my foot in my mouth for the longest time. Even though it's an indie game, I feel that not only that it competes very well with older games such as Symphony of the Night as well as Super Metroid; but it's the best Metrovania type game that I've played in a long time.
There's not too much to say about exploring ancient ruins. It's what's in there and how you deal with it that tells how the story goes. La-Mulana itself is a mystery and as you get further along you find out in greater detail what it truly is. It's quite a surprise.
The 32-bit sprites are quite detailed and generally give you a good indication of where you are. The amount of details from your own character, to NPC's, to even bosses is something to behold. Think of them as the enhanced SNES graphics that you never got to see.
In a word, phenomenal. Every area in the game has its own tune that corresponds with your current area, and they are nothing short of excellent. In a usual setting, video game music tends to only be good in certain parts, but here I find it hard to not like the majority of it. It is that good.
Lemeza controls slightly better than the Belmonts of the old, due to his ninja training. However, he has the look of a typical Indiana Jones'esque character. That being said, he uses a whip, but soon gets sub-weapons and even other weapons to use against his various foes.
As this is a Metrovania type game, you will have the general collecting of items to progress in La-Mulana. However, exploring ancient ruins isn't ever a straight walk. As you get further in the game, you will have to fight guardians (bosses) to proceed further in the game and/or get items that are otherwise inaccessible.
I will warn you, however, this game isn't for the feint of heart. As ruins go, there's traps; some that can quickly lead to your death. Exploring to the next save point, especially in newer areas can be deadly in its own right, and the bosses in this game do not play around. There's also the puzzles which range from ok that was kind of easy to omg how the %^$! was someone supposed to figure this out?!. Even for the most obtuse of puzzle, the tablets in the game will give you a clue on what to do. However, if you actually crack and use a guide, I can't say that I would be surprised. The feat of overcoming such challenges is a good feeling in itself, though
Even the beginning of the game could confuse the average gamer as you can't read signs at the beginning unless you go into the shop and get the hand scanner. If that doesn't tell you from the start how little hand holding there will be, nothing will.
Assuming you play without a guide except for the most extreme or profound cases, and can generally play well, it will still take around 18-25 hours to complete it. That's not counting the amount of deaths you'll have from the challenge this game brings as well as any of the extra areas. Counting that would actually add 15+ hours to my time. This also doesn't count playing it on Hard, which doesn't just do the generic more HP and damage trick as most games of today do. It is quite a different experience.
Even though my review is short, it's mainly to prevent spoilers as these types of games contain many secrets. That being said, if you're fond of Metrovania type games, give this one a shot. Assuming you're up to the challenge, you won't regret it.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 10/31/12
Game Release: La-Mulana (US, 10/14/12)
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