As the original, just a lot more young and hip
When we received a code to review La-Mulana 2 I was also excited and frightened. I liked the very first game, but La-Mulana is not what I would call intuitively. The original basically simulates how it would be to land in a situation Indiana Jones and must find its way out of ancient ruins with cryptic clues. Calling it for an adventure would be to put it easy, as it completes it feels more like an emigration.
So while I climbed to try out Nigoro and Playism's last mind-bender, I also had this fear that I would not be able to complete it before the embargo. For many people, the original La-Mulana without review can review up to 50 hours, depending on how interested your situation is. Was I sparing enough to surpass Eg-Lana's attempt and reunite Lumisa with his father?
As you may have already guessed from the title, I have not yet come to the end of La-Mulana 2 . Having said that, if you wonder if you should catch La-Mulana 2 the answer is a simple yes, depending on your tolerance for old-fashioned game design.
Publisher: AGM Playism
Released: July 30, 2018
MSRP: $ 24.99
For those who are not familiar with the original La- Mulana you can easily describe it as an extremely difficult version of Metroid . It shares much similarities with Nintendo's sweet franchise, but changes the theme from futuristic sci-fi to today's game fun. You play as Lemeza, a guy who obviously cosplaying as Indiana Jones, as he is digged into the ruins of the titular La-Mulana to reveal the secrets that were buried in.
La-Mulana 2 does little for to change the basis for what its predecessor put before. To the untrained eye, this can come as a gender exchange since the art style is striking like the original. Before I look back on the original, I was a little shocked at how dense the game resembles its ancestor.
The story this time is that you play the role of Lumisa, Lemeza's potential daughter, when she explores the ruins of Eg-Lana after receiving a letter from Xelpud, the leader of the tourist resort now lying on the ruins of La-Mulana . Xelpud originally called Lemeza, but you have been shown in his place and are good enough to him. Some monsters have appeared where Xelpud is trying to build and he wants you to figure out why so he can come back to make money.
When you start your cave dive adventure, you will quickly learn that it is a sister site of La-Mulana, a place known as Eg-Lana. This is where the evil source comes from. After following her father's footsteps, Lumisa is eager to jump in the first place without stopping to ask why. It will not last long before you face giant bosses, collect all sorts of tools and hit your head against a wall when you hit an apparently impossible puzzle game.
While there were some concerns among fans like La -Mulana 2 would be stupid, I can confidently assure you that Nigoro has not done anything like that. While opening hours are a bit more straightforward than the original, you will eventually hit a point where it looks like you're in a dead end. To me this has happened after about seven hours of play, which is a remarkable improvement during the first game.
La-Mulana 2 requires you to have a good sense of awareness as you walk through the many different areas of Eg-Lana. The tag will be hidden in common sight and often through encrypted messages that you must refer to later. With a nice touch, Lumisa can actually record specific messages in its handy smartphone-like device, the Mobile Super X3, and pull them up as desired. This will at least prevent you from returning to a one-time room just to remember a mystery that seemed meaningless hours earlier.
Still, you come to a point where you will think you've turned over every stone and you will end up going through each area several times with nothing to go on. That's exactly what I feared when I considered the assessment and it made me feel fun. With a few useful tips from Playism's PR rep, I was able to get back on track for a few more hours until I eventually hit another dead end. Oh, the pleasures of old-fashioned games.
I could have done it, but one of the coolest aspects of the original La-Mulana was how eager society was digging up its treasures. After about five years of existence, guides for the original are so detailed and well written that new players probably will never get lost, but the aspect of sharing information and lending a helping hand reminds me of my youth as a stupid young. I did not always know how to develop in games, be it from badly translated text or because of stupid game design, but getting another view on the schoolyard will usually cause me to have an eureka moment and drive home with renewed happiness. 19659003] Then I thanked Playism to help me a little and told them I would wait to give a full review. La-Mulana 2 is a game made for fans, and one such as hardcore players will probably get a real kick out of exploring to its fullest. Nothing I say will stop them from patching it up, so why not contribute my current knowledge and nudge people on the right track?
At least I can talk about some of the more subtle changes to gameplay that will likely make the fans happy. For one, Lumisa controls a little better in the air. She still has the frustrating tendency to fall in a straight line if you go off an edge, but Lumisa can almost turn around immediately after jumping, and it will even be included in some of the platform's challenges. Within minutes of starting, I made backshop and access areas that would have taken several upgrades to reach originally.
The score is almost identical to the first game with many similar items giving a return. The whip still has a long animation that can see you hurt if you are not careful and your secondary objects can be replaced with the L and R buttons on your controls as desired. Using these is not required, but will certainly make the enemy's meetings much more manageable.
The boss camps are quite numerous, and while I have just taken two officers (basically the "main" bosses of La Mulana 2 ), I have met possibly 10 mini-bosses who have seen me invent some new cursing words. In my effort not to give up to the last possible moment, I've actually defeated every boss I've met to this point.
One of the best aspects of La-Mulana 2 is how open structure is. I'm not sure if this was the same for the original (I've definitely used a guide to complete it), but the order for upgrades in La-Mulana 2 is nonlinear. While you will of course dig to certain things, you can basically travel to the different areas in random order and still do quite a bit of progress.
This came to a head when I met Mulbruk and had her explore the "Annwfn" region. She got stuck inside, and I had to figure out another way to reach her (which prompted me to ask Playism PR for help). If I had sent her to "Immortal Battlefield," she would have forwarded information to me about another region, and I could have gone there first. Instead, I set to rescue her and end in the completely opposite direction.
To me, the only real problem I've had is that the clues are still too bad. I know this is a big point for fans who make La-Mulana what it is, but I'd like some more guidance in the game. On points, the characters will throw in with what they think is a hint to realize that you're missing an item you never even knew existed. When you finally get around to finding that item, you're now in another place where you've forgotten the room they originally told you about using that item.
Travel travel still exists as in the original, but the points often require you to go back through a bunch of tough platform sections that can be filled with sudden traps or instant death. To say it gets annoying is an understatement. Minimal teleporting around the various areas trigger a quicksave, but it still sucks to get a plan in your head and get it immediately crushed when you plummet into a lavend spit and go to bed.
Even with the frustration, I will still play La-Mulana 2 . I think the fear of trying to run through it for review triggered the worse parts of my brain, but I really want to overcome the challenges that Nigoro has called. The refreshing lack of guidance is a real pleasure for me, since it reminds me so much of the games that I cut my teeth on. It and the music are just amazing, which means I want to sit and just hear when I get lost.
It may take a while before I ever get to the finale, but La-Mulana 2 is as engaging and well-designed as its predecessor. In many ways, I prefer it to the original for the extra polished it has. I think that when I finish Lumisa's journey, I can get my personal favorite metroidvania game to return to.
[This review in progress is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]