From the talented Mexican development team, Lienzo, comes a new action-adventure, Mulaka. Founded on the heritage of the indigenous Mexican culture, Mulaka oozes with superstitions and age old mythology’s and folklore of the Tarahumara people. As a result of the development efforts Mulaka impressively delivers a more than competent action-adventure, supported by a narrative tale that is founded on the restoration of the native American who have settled in the mountain area of northern Mexico.
As the narrative entails, Mulaka follows the heroic exploits of a Sukuruame or according to the Tarahumara people, a shaman savior tasked with the heavy burden to seek out the most formidable demigods who will aid him on his journey against the lands corrupt evil forces. Impressively, even if you have no understanding of this beautiful culture, players are dropped in colorful and vibrant settings of Tarahumara locations, forced to engage various enemy types, all of which are taken from the native mythology, which becomes a fun educational ride. With a manageable layer of Tarahumara history, artistic influence and spirituality on display, the sum of these part comes together to provide a honorable representation through compelling gameplay.
At the heart of Mulaka is a true action-adventure, supported with fairly simple combat engagements, NPC dialogue, exploration, with a touch of puzzle solving to round out the experience. Consisting of various locations such as Samalayuca, Paquime, Reso Rekubi, Arareko, Hueraachi, Basacheechi and so on, each location offers a distinctive expedition style, however while each area may vary, how the gameplay is associated in each does not vary all that much, unless Sukuruame comes in possession of a new found ability, which I wil discuss later. Each location places great emphasis on exploration in an effort to acquire three hidden stones in order to progress the story forward.
Ultimately, after finding all three stones players are often confronted by an area boss battle which are quite entertaining. Because boss battle engagements are well assorted, I found myself looking forward to the next, as these challenging encounters offered a fair share of difficulty. Aside from boss battles Sukuruame does have plenty of altercations as you peruse the different landscapes. You will be pestered by all kinds of enemies such as the Ta Machire, Kiyochi, Rite Iwiga, Inima Seelo, Apowa, the powerful Ganoko Kubechi, as well as the Tere Machire and many others.
Eventually, Sukuruame will progressively grow in power by attaining new abilities granted to him by the allied demigods throughout. Armed with an upgradable spear which is his main melee weapon, which doubles as a projectile weapon, Sukuruame’s health is associated with a three tiered power supply, so out of the gate you are no push over. Granted demigod powers give Sukuruame the possession of supernatural animal-like skills such as flight, turing him into a winged bird, the agility of the puma, enabling him to cscale great heights or the destructive strength of the might bear, enabling him to crush his way through imposing barriers. In addition, Sukuruame is also given the skill of turning into a snake to cross dangerous waters with great speed, as well as the skill to freeze objects and then utilize his bear strength to break through them.
Adding to Sukuruame’s power resources, our powerful shaman also gains strength from the land as certain wild vegetation is the source of specific abilities. For example, Sukuruame can heal himself, and go into a sort of rage mode where his fists blaze from burning fire making his attacks more swift and punishing. Sukuruame can even shield himself from attacks by engulfing himself within a protective sphere. All of these abilities are attained by harvesting the land. Aside from the skill of throwing bombs, whether healing yourself, going into rage mode or casting a sphere of protection around yourself, Sukuruame must always do a ritualistic dance just before he becomes endowed.
While it certainly adds style points to the setting, it can sometimes be annoying when in the heat of battle you need to heal yourself quickly or want to empower yourself only to find that your shaman protagonist must bust-a-move first regardless of the situation. Sure, it does make for more challenging encounters, yet depending on who you are battling it can test your patience.
It all comes together very well as locations are constructed to cater to your new found abilities for mastery. Sukuruame also has the aid of his second sight which allows him to see into the spiritual realm where some enemies dwell and can only be attacked from. This second sight also gives valuable hints for locating key objects from all over the various landscapes. One object of great importance throughout is the currency known as Korima. Korima can be used to buy enhancement for abilities from the Karmauare Kuwi, unfortunately the merchant who sells these upgrades can only be found in one location (Paquime) based on my through. It would have been convenient to find her along my travels instead of needing to always go back to the map and leave my current location. Because of this inconvenience I found myself neglecting to frequent this merchant as much as I would have liked.
Visually Mulaka plays it very safe, resorting to a sort of graphical paper mache art style, which I found myself quite satisfied with the longer my stay became. Well complimented with a seemingly traditional musical score the full production of Mulaka comes together as a interactive love note to the culture of the Tarahumara people.
More than a serviceable action-adventure, Mulaka empowers players with an attractively simple package of stimulating gameplay.