La-Mulana EX Preview: NES Hard on PS Vita

by David Sanchez September 23, 2014 @ 4:39 pm

La-Mulana EX - PSV - 1

For almost a decade, La-Mulana has managed to leave its mark on more and more platforms, starting out as a free PC download and then hitting Nintendo’s WiiWare service and Steam. Now it’s being prepped for release on yet another system, with publishing duties being handled by Rising Star Games and development by Pygmy Studio. The port in question, titled La-Mulana EX, is headed to the Vita, and judging from a recent close-up look at the game courtesy of Rising Star, it definitely seems like a perfect fit for Sony’s handheld.

If you’ve played some version of La-Mulana in the past, you pretty much know what to expect here. This is the same game you’ve played before, albeit redesigned for the Vita. That’s not to say you should skip it altogether if you’ve already played it. On the contrary — if you previously enjoyed the deliciously and deviously brutal 2D action-adventure gameplay that Nigoro’s punishing little brainchild dishes out, you may want to consider the opportunity of taking said punishment on the go with you.

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Enemies follow movement patterns that require you to memorize them if you wish to survive. Bosses are massive and unrelenting. Going back a screen respawns all of the enemies you’ve already defeated. There are traps everywhere, ready to take you down. Death is pretty much imminent in La-Mulana, and if you love that style of retro, NES-like experience, there’s no reason not to be stoked about this upcoming handheld version.

There are some new features incorporated into this otherwise super old school title. First, you now get a bestiary that keeps track of all the creatures you encounter — a nice touch for those moments when you’d rather chill from all of the dying and raging and just check out some pictures of monsters. There’s also Trophy support, as well as leaderboards for any competitive types who are just itching to speedrun through the dastardly ruins of La-Mulana.

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Probably the most useful addition, however, is the higher amount of currency drops. Pygmy’s goal with this version of La-Mulana was to focus more on exploration, puzzles, and battles, therefore the studio made it so that you don’t necessarily need to painstakingly grind for money. Now you can buy more items a lot faster rather than dealing with always having to seek out cash. On the one hand, some purists may take exception to this, but on the other hand, this is a Vita game we’re talking about here — it’d be a pain to have to grind away while at a bus stop.

The rich pixelated look of La-Mulana translates wonderfully over to the Vita. Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen more indie games make their way to the portable, and they tend to look stunningly spectacular. This one’s no exception, and all of that familiar old school charm that the series is known for is handled quite well on the Vita.

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If you need another NES hard game in your life, or if perhaps you’d like to take La-Mulana with you anywhere you go, the EX version of the game should meet your self-loathing needs. It’s the acclaimed, memorable, tough-as-hell La-Mulana on the Vita. Need I really say more?

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