La-mulana EX- PS Vita -: Review

A lot of games like to pretend they contain rugged adventures, but end up closer to theme park rides: a set-piece here, a signpost there, a telltale glint meaning all you need is eyes to scoop up priceless artefacts. not so with this PS Vita revision of 2005's austere Japanese indy sorry, indie tomb raider. Here, you'll even have to earn the basic tools to read the cryptic clues found on stone tablets and the remains of many, many fallen adventurers.

As dr lemeza Kosugi, who starts out with only a whip and a laptop, your journey deep into an ancient temple is more metroidvania than Spelunky, with set puzzles to decrypt. even knowing where to start is overwhelming, since few areas are truly gated off and an intrepid spirit can carry you far and wide. it can also get you killed: often the difference between earning new equipment and triggering a trap is in figuring out these riddles before you drop a weight on a tempting lectern.

As your skills, item screen and understanding swell, so you'll learn when to push your luck and when you're asking  to lose progress. Finding the Holy grail early on allows you to warp between save stones, for instance, trading the frustration of being lost and about to die for the wrench of having to abandon an excursion to go heal.

EX's presentation is charmingly retro, with catchy, chiptune-like themes and detailed pixel art, though that also extends to the 4:3 aspect ratio. while stretching the sides out would require remaking the game, it is a shame not to see Vita's entire width used. But if you're a brave soul hunting a hard game to treasure, you'll find what you seek in la-mulana.


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