By Josh Speer / September 7th, 2017
Developer Lienzo could have rested on their laurels after Hunter’s Legacy, but they weren’t content to sit idle. Instead, they went and created Mulaka, a fascinating Zelda-esque title coming to PC, PS4, Switch and XBox One. I got the chance to play Mulaka myself at PAX West 2017 and was very impressed with the project.
The first thing I found fascinating about Mulaka is that it is based upon a indigenous culture from northern Mexico, the Tarahumara. Known for being incredible runners and other fantastical abilities, the game has you set in the role of a Sukurúame, a shaman of the group, warring against something which is corrupting the land around you. As you progress you’ll acquire new skills from the demigods, such as the ability to turn into a bird and reach new heights.
Everything in the game is based on the mythology of that particular region, from the monsters you face to the locales you visit. The demo took place in the 3rd dungeon of the game, where things were a challenge but not yet overwhelmingly difficult. I used my bird transformation to ascend to a cave where I found a monster had been literally stealing people’s souls (according to myth, the Tarahumara have multiple souls, which is reflected in the way your health meter works). The dungeon consisted of finding 3 mystical stones to unlock the way to the boss, which are unearthed with combat as well as nice puzzles. These all revolved around rearranging snake statues to get water flowing to all of them. The combat meanwhile was diverse and complex, which I rather enjoyed. While some enemies could be fought like normal, others were dangerous spirits you can only see with your third sight turned on. Combat was a nice mixture of attacking, dodging and exploiting enemy weak spots. You even have long distance attacks in the form of your spear and magical explosions you can cast.
Another unique facet of the game is that by collecting natural materials, such as plants strewn about, you’ll automatically craft potions based off what you acquire. This meant that since I had a healing potion recipe, I would naturally add more to my stock without having to make space in my inventory. I got as far as the boss of the dungeon, which was a creepy leech monster that projected his ethereal essence from a rocky husk. As you damaged his outer mouths, he summons wind that you can ride upwards in bird form, finally ascending to his top body segment, where you can stun him and finally inflict damage. I got through the first couple parts of the battle before the boss utterly thrashed me, but I had fun all the same.
While there are some minor issues in the game, such as sliding off surfaces once, overall it’s shaping up quite nicely. Lienzo may have a contender on their hands with Mulaka, and I can’t wait for other gamers to enjoy it when it releases on PC, PS4, Switch and XBox One.