By: Uma Smith
La-Mulana EX originally made its appearance in Japan back in 2005 for the Windows PC. It was known for its side-scrolling action adventure coupled with some great challenges. With that in mind, La-Mulana EX must have made such an impression back then that it got remade in 2012 and was even released for the Nintendo Wii. Fast forward to the present and we see that very same game making its way to the PlayStation Vita. It appears that La-Mulana EX is here to make some more “mula.”
Control-wise, La-Mulana EX plays out very similarly to 2D platforming titles like Castlevania. You have your whip as the primary weapon, which can be upgraded, along with other sub-weapons that can be used in conjunction with your main attack.
One notable mention is the jump function. When jumping across, you won’t be able to turn around while in the air; however when jumping straight up, you have more autonomy in terms of mobility, which is a big plus. As such, moving about and attacking is top-notch with the Vita, with no setbacks whatsoever.
Visually, La-Mulana EX looks quite amazing with the old-school approach. You are not going to get state-of-the-art graphics with astounding detail, but the retro look gives the game its charm.
Audio effects are acceptable as they do the job pretty well. Meanwhile, the musical score composed by Michiru Yamane gives a nice vibe that is both satisfying and impressive. Because of the upbeat soundtrack, you will feel motivated to play on throughout the game.
In La-Mulana EX you control your character as you explore various ruins in order to collect the treasures within. You will need to fend off a variety of monsters and bosses as well as solve puzzles. Specifically, there are a number of screens to go through where you fight enemies and collect objects along the way.
Your character can actually take a significant amount of damage, but your skills are still going to be put to the test. The enemies are both fast and tricky, thereby requiring some quick reactions on your part. Furthermore, the save points are relatively scarce, so you will want to make wise use of these opportunities before embarking further in your adventure. Along those lines, battles with the bosses can get very frustrating. But once you successfully defeat them, the satisfaction arrives with a vengeance.
As you progress, the challenges expand as you take on certain objectives, which you need to complete as quickly as possible. Since there are a lot of in-game characters to speak to and different ways to approach things, the fun factor can be very limited depending on the type of player you are.
If you’re looking for straight action, then this can be trying on your patience. However, if you take on the completionist approach, this can be a long-lasting experience.
While La-Mulana EX is a fun little title for the PlayStation Vita, the difficulty can be quite punishing to players. Still, the big maps to explore coupled with the vast amount of puzzles to solve makes this an enjoyable game for those who are looking to put their skills to the test.
La-Mulana EX is a quality title that reminds players of the good old days when it wasn’t just about graphics but hard-as-hell gameplay as well. While this may be a bit harsh to some players, the rest can definitely find appreciation and fun when they get their hands on it.