Your usual Metroidvania platformer on the outside, much more inside.
La-Mulana is extremely hard. Not even do you require good platforming skills, but you also need to be good at puzzle solving. Taking notes on your adventure is highly recommended, even if some things don't seem to be important.
With that being said about the game, let's go a little more into detail:Story:
There's barely anything to say here. You play as Lemeza Kosugi and explore ancient ruins. You find a few people close to the ruins, but only talk to their elder ever so often, he provides some advice, and later explains a few things. But there barely is more to say about the plot. But there's a lot of additional lore, and nearly every single area of the ruins has their own story to tell, if you're careful around your surroundings. After some game time, you find out that you have to kill the 8 guardians and apparently the "Mother", and that's about all you get as your target.Gameplay:
Lemeza Kosugi controls pretty precisely, once you get the hang of it. Only downside is that if you walk as you jump, you can't control the jump at all anymore. If you jump while standing still it's possible though, so once you get used to it, it's okay.
Over the course of the game, you'll find different upgrades, such as a double jump, stronger attacks, new weapons and sub-weapons. The usual things you can expect from a Metroidvania.
There are no lifes, once you die, it's game over. The only way to refill your HP is by either resting in the hot springs, or collecting a certain amount of life orbs, and once that life orb meter fills completely, your HP are filled up completely, and your orb meter is back to 0. You also need to collect more orbs the more HP you have.
There is no such thing as Experience Points and level ups, the only way to get more HP is to find their respective upgrades.
The normal enemies, and the areas aren't too difficult, especially once you get the ability to teleport, and you can always teleport back to the first area and refill your HP in the hot springs, though it is a little annoying.
Speaking of teleporting, you can teleport to certain checkpoints, where you can also save your game, pretty early in the game, so it helps moving through the ruins, since backtracking is also quite a thing here.
There are many mini- and mainbosses, and most of them are really, really challenging.
Enemies also drop gold, and you actually need it to buy necessary items in the game.
Those are your usual metroidvania things, but there's more here:
First of all, you've got a virtual computer with you. and as you play you find software for it. You can only activate a few softwares at once. Those softwares allow simple things such as having a map, or being able to read the ancient language, up to helpful things as having more invincibility frames after being hit, or doing more damage with certain weapons.
Then there are puzzles... They start off from rather simple things as destroying walls to reach new objects or your usual switch puzzles... up to things like understanding the ancient language partly yourself. And that's rather difficult. And saying any more would be spoiling too much. Let me just say, some of the puzzles can be extremely cryptic, and will take some time to figure out, especially because you need to solve nearly all of them to finish the game.Graphics:
Nothing special, but it all looks very well done in the 16-bit style the game is.Sound:
The background music is very nice and sets the tone for each area and situation. The sound effects aren't anything special, they're okay.
The game will probably take about 30-40 hours in your first playthrough if you don't look anything up.
So, if you like the genre in any way, I'd recommend to try La-Mulana at least out for the rather cheap price!