Monday, January 14, 2013

La-Mulana PC Remake - First Impressions

Not a review, more like a comment, but I felt it to be blog worthy.  Besides, I might never actually finish this game till a few months or years later given my current progress, so any review I do wouldn't do it justice.  So I'll ramble instead.

Bought La Mulana, the paid PC remake of the old freeware game.

Still got mixed feelings about it.  I don't regret buying it, nor the time spent playing it. Not in the slightest.  Up to 13 hours so far and have barely scratched the surface, revealing a much deeper game than I expected.  This game is rather long for a Metroid-like game, especially a platformer.

In fact, it's one of my new favorite platform/exploration games of all time.  Scratch that, one of my favorite games of all time, period.

But man, sometimes, I just want to throw something at the designer.

I constantly waver between throwing massive nostalgia tear soaked thank you notes for all the hard work this near perfect gem of a 2d platformer has taken to produce. Or the biggest, heaviest, most painful to die if hit by spike studded object I can find.

But I do want to throw a Something. Just not sure which yet.

Maybe a spike studded object covered with nostalgia tear soaked notes would send the message?

The new graphical overhaul in the PC remake of the game and the refined puzzle design makes it all the more sweeter to play, while the difficulty of the old freeware game has been kept intact despite having a Wii Ware release.  And the length, in a world of Metroid clones that last 8 to 10 hours, La Mulana's puzzles and just plain massive maze like map is very refreshing.  The content is also quite varied, no two puzzles are quite the same, and often they are unique riddles that need to be carefully thought about and then acted on in experimentation to solve.

This is a good game.  Of that there is no doubt.  

But it is certainly not for everyone.

La Mulana is probably best summed up as a hard 2d platformer in a metroid like maze, with diabolical traps trying to kill you at each turn, and riddles to solve written all over it in a strange language that need to be translated.  Add in extremely difficult bosses, non-linear gameplay that practically invites you to find your own route through collecting all the items to find, and a distinct lack of hint systems or directions if you are ever stuck.

If that scares you, than prettier graphics and better controller support are not going to fix it.  You'll just get frustrated at the gameplay La Mulana has to offer.

However, if what I just described interests you in any way, then welcome to one of the best Metroidvania style games you'll ever play.

The original game is at the link below.  You will need to download the english patch for it.  You should also be warned that unlike the new version, it has nearly no guiding hints to finish it.  It's honestly quite a bit rusty compared to the remake, but hey, it's free.  And yes, it is legal, the game was freeware and this version of it has nothing in common (besides most level design) with the paid version that came out later.

I got the paid version from an indy bundle that is no longer sold, but there are a few sources where you can pick up the game.  The price is $15 bucks, a bit high for a game of this type, but I can assure you, this is not one of those games you will finish in around 8 hours the first time through, it's well worth the price of admission.

I'd recommend the Good Old Games site for PC.  I've bought stuff from them before, and can vouch for them as a creditable source of games:

It's not on steam yet, but there is a greenlight page for it.  Vote it up if you are a Greenlight user:

Update: La Mulana is Greenlit for release on Steam.  Once it has a page, I'll edit this to point there so you can buy it on Steam.

And of course, it is also on the Wii Ware store, if you'd rather play it on your console.

All methods of purchasing it go to the developer of the game, so pick whatever you like.  

Good luck.  You'll certainly need it, along with hours of practice, patience, and determination to try again when you fail.  And if you are anything like me, you'll love every minute of it.


  1. Quick question:

    Where is the free version?

    I ask, not to be a terrible freeloader (I probably am), but because I have no idea from this whether I'll actually want to play the game. I am thinking of buying a game in the near future, so it might be worth thinking about playing an older freeware version first to see if I'd really be interested.

    I've not even finished the metroid game(s) I've started, so you'll forgive me for not just up and buying anything.

    1. I linked to it, it's on the same page the patch is from.

      On the right of the page, there is the patch to change the language to english.

      There is also at the very bottom of that box a link to titled "Download the Game" in little green text.

      Yeah, it's kind of tiny and easy to miss if you were in a hurry. :p Enjoy!


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