La-Mulana 2 is the sequel to the original La-Mulana and lets you control the daughter of the archaeologist from that title, who has followed in her father’s footsteps. She is on a quest to discover the cause of the monsters appearing from the ruins her father once explored. The game is still a 2D retro-style platformer in the Metroidvania vein which captured a cult following on their first outing.
You start off in a strange, mountainous area with a randomly placed Disney castle which houses an old pervert called Xelpud. He is the elder of the tourist village and in his house he is surrounded by ladies half his age. He explains he has turned the ruins into a tourist attraction and that he remembers your father. He mentions the monsters coming from the ruins and installs an app on your tablet so he can message you and give you hints on the ruins and game in general. As you explore the area you get constant message whistles from old Xelpud telling you about the area and offering advice, although sometimes in a pervy manner (he mentions the hot springs is where you can restore health, but you have to take your clothes off first…). So, you talk to the locals and get to grips with the controls and make your way into the ruins.
This is where the game springs to life and you get a feel for what it is about. With your lady in her Indiana Jones getup, from the brown fedora hat to the whip, you need to master some platforming, solve some puzzles and whip the enemies into shape. Also, just to borrow from the Castlevania series you need to whip almost every item in sight, but mostly the oversized orange vases which contain health, ammo or money. You will need to use the money to buy apps to install on your tablet to make your quest a bit easier, or make more sense. You can also buy items and other weapons to help you conquer some of the trickier enemies.
The controls are mostly simple, although some of the extra buttons could have done with some explaining. The movement and whipping are straight forward and you will learn that pretty quickly. The controls are better used with the d-pad as things get a bit slippery with the thumbstick. Also, the jumping mechanism seems a bit odd as you can’t easily jump a little bit forward – if you jump slightly moving a direction, you tend to leap quite a way forward. If you jump while standing, then you jump vertically but you cannot move a direction in mid-air until about half a second after you jump which feels weird and makes it annoying for some of the tricky platforming areas. Although, this is still an improvement on the previous games jumping mechanics.
For a game with a simple and fun look, it really doesn’t hold your hand through the process. You start with not much health and this can be reduced to zero in 1 or 2 hits by the sub-bosses of the game, so you need to make sure you save your progress often. You also need to make use of the save point warp feature to go back to the village to recover your health and pick up other weapons, items, apps or ammo to help you reach the next part of the ruins. Some of the puzzles can be quite confusing and involve a lot of backtracking and, if you haven’t saved often enough, sometimes you can lose a large chunk of your playtime in an instant by falling into some of the instant death traps which are strewn about the ruins.
La-Mulana 2 is just as fun, frustrating and tricky as its predecessor. It has improved on some of the aspects that let the first game down a little, although not completely such as the jumping aspect. However, the game relies on a Myst/Dark Souls philosophy; that those that are determined and persistent will persevere and feel rewarded upon completion. For those into retro platformers which a decent difficulty level then this could be up your street.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by the publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
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