Mulaka is a game that came across the ethereal surface of my existential desk recently. I had been following the development cycle for Mulaka a little, and was definitely interested to see how this game would play out. On the surface, it has a very cool, almost Zelda-lite sensibility to it.

The product description reads as follows:

Renowned for their impressive running abilities, embark on the journey of a Sukurúame – a Tarahumara shaman – as you fight back the foulness corrupting the land, while drawing upon the powers of demigods. From solving puzzles in environments inspired by real Sierra Tarahumara locations, to heated hand-to-hand combat with creatures pulled from the region’s mythology, find out why the Tarahumara have earned a reputation for being superhumans.

So how did the game stack up?

Story

You play as a young tribal warrior who sets out to heal the land from the evil that has plaguing it. Essentially, this is a story about the redemption of humanity. It shares some similarities to such disparate games as Mass Effect 3 and Ys VIII in the way this type of story is handled.

I thought it was an interesting story, albeit nothing I haven’t already seen before, and done better. That said, Mulaka was still nicely written .

7 out of 10

Gameplay

The gameplay in Mulaka is a fusion of platforming and action role playing (ARPG). It definitely was inspired by the Zelda series, and one of the trophies even makes light of this fact. However, it does add some nice gameplay elements that lend it a bit of its own identity beyond its focus on ancient (or less recent anyway) Mexican tribalism.

Your goal is basically to free the various protector demi-gods who all take on the form of an animal by breaking the corruption that has filled them. They then lend their powers to you, which can be combat or exploration focused depending on the demi-god in question. After you’ve done so, you are well positioned to take on the source of corruption.

Outside of some of the cool abilities you gain from cleansing demi-gods, you have your standard and power attacks, your basic jumping and jump attacks, a thrown spear/javelin attack, and a minor upgrade tree for health and javelin attacks. Nothing too complex.

You also have a “sight” ability which allows you to see things in the world that others can’t. This is useful in finding hidden enemies, secret locations, and the ghosts of previous victims to the corruption who you will set free by listening to their stories. The ghosts function as a bit of lore building and as one of two types of collectibles for trophies/achievements in this game, the other being special locations found atop some of the highest points in the game.

There is also some crafting in the form of potions. This happens automatically as you collect the specific herb needed  for the specific potion. One herb type per potion, four in total. These are used for health, explosives, and two buffs.

The platforming handled quite well. There were a couple moments where the controls felt a little stiff, but overall, they were as fluid as one would expect from a platformer.

All in all, I feel the gameplay in Mulaka merits an 8 out of 10

Graphics

Traverse a 3D world inspired by the legendary, real-life landscapes of northern Mexico, rendered in a vibrant, low-poly visual style.

This is as it is described by Lienzo (which incidentally means Canvas), the developer of Mulaka, and I’d say it’s a perfectly apt description. The game is really visually striking. It has that Nintendo-ey vibe to it, and the low-poly resolution is very cool looking. It’s notable, and in my estimation, this is where the game truly shined.

9 out of 10

Audio

In contrast to the graphics, the audio, while nice, was not really noteworthy for me. I struggle to recall any truly memorable audio tracks, be it combat, boss fights, or simple wandering and chatting with locals.

6 out of 10

Verdict

Mulaka is a game that has everything you need for an enjoyable experience. It’s not the best Zelda-lite game I’ve played, but it was fun regardless. I know I enjoyed my 15ish hours with the game.

7.5 spirit guide demi-gods leading you to an eventual conflict out of 10 possible. The rest probably sided with the enemy.