LA-MULANA is an “Archaeological Ruin Exploration Action Game,” bringing the classic appeal of adventure with the punishing difficulty of retro-inspired gaming. Search inside ancient ruins, seeking out the “Secret Treasure of Life” – which sleeps in the sprawling ruins of “LA-MULANA” and is said to be the beginning of all civilization.
User reviews:
Very Positive (1,325 reviews) - 82% of the 1,325 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Apr 15, 2013

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August 4

Branching Paths Sales!

To celebrate the release of "Branching Paths". a documentary exploring the usually unseen world behind the Japanese indie scene has been released. The titles featured in the documentary are currently on sale.

La-Mulana features in the documentary, so make sure you check it out.

You can find the full list of sales here:

0 comments Read more

May 12

La-Mulana Officially Supports Mac and Linux

Hi All!!

Super exciting news! La-Mulana finally supports Mac and Linux officially. After a long beta testing mode and some great help, we are happy to release it to you all.

We hope that you all enjoy it and share the adventure!

19 comments Read more


“La Mulana delivers on a fun, challenging and rewarding exploration experience that is presented with polish.”
Greenlit Gaming

"Beyond the seemingly insurmountable wall of challenge, La-Mulana is a brilliant title that exceeds in just about every category. Art, music, breadth of content, game length -- La-Mulana gets the highest marks. But there's simply no denying that the difficulty, as fair as Nigoro purports it to be, is a major deterrent. If you are willing to suffer, though, you will be blown away. I guarantee it."
8/10 – Destructoid

"Nigoro’s La-Mulana is like Castlevania: Symphony of The Night spliced with Dark Souls. It is long, it is tough, it is involved and it has puzzles that’ll make your brain bleed."
93/100 – Indie Game Mag

"I look back on my time with La-Mulana with plenty of frustration at the challenging platforming, enemies, bosses, and puzzles. But I’m also amazed at the time, thought, and talent that went into creating this experience. There may never be another game like La-Mulana."
8.5/10 – Game Informer

About This Game

LA-MULANA is an “Archaeological Ruin Exploration Action Game,” bringing the classic appeal of adventure with the punishing difficulty of retro-inspired gaming. Search inside ancient ruins, seeking out the “Secret Treasure of Life” – which sleeps in the sprawling ruins of “LA-MULANA” and is said to be the beginning of all civilization. Unfortunately, priceless artifacts very rarely give themselves up easily.

Apart from the plethora of traps lying in wait, there are also monsters on the prowl, protecting the ruins. Head for the innermost depths of the ruins while solving a variety of mysteries, fending off monsters, and disarming traps. Forging ahead will be no simple task – the further into the depths you reach, the more difficult the mysteries become. The guardians of LA-MULANA do not take their job lightly.

LA-MULANA on Steam is the PC port version of the acclaimed remake for WiiWare. One of the first NIGORO games, LA-MULANA was originally created back in the creators’ “amateur” days and has been renown worldwide.
This game was created based on “that old-time feeling.” The creators wished to play the sort of games that enthralled them back in the day, only with more volume. The operability and difficulty level are certainly not “new school”. However, this game is highly recommended to gamers seeking out that feeling of total immersion that allows you to go full-on head-to-head with a game not found in somewhat lighter terms.

Coming up on it's ninth birthday, LA-MULANA continues to captivate, frustrate and annihilate new and old players alike. Whether it's your first time falling into the ruins or your 900th of getting decimated by Mushussu, we thank you for donning your explorer's hat, hoisting the whip and diving into our game.

Good luck. You're going to need it.

System Requirements

Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    • OS:Windows XP
    • Processor:Intel® Pentium 4 / 2.0GHz
    • Memory:1 GB RAM
    • Graphics:DirectX 9.0c compatible card, 128MB of VRAM
    • DirectX®:9.0c
    • Hard Drive:500 MB HD space
    • Sound:DirectX 9.0c compatible card
    • OS:OS X 10.7(Lion)
    • Processor:Intel® Core 2 Duo 2.0 GHz
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Hard Drive: 500 MB available space
    • OS:OS X 10.11(El Capitan) or higher
    • Processor:Intel® Core i5 2.4 GHz
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Hard Drive: 500 MB available space
    • Processor:Intel® Pentium 4 / 2.0GHz
    • Memory:1 GB RAM
    • Graphics:DirectX 9.0c compatible card, 128MB of VRAM
Customer reviews
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Very Positive (1,325 reviews)
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983 reviews match the filters above ( Very Positive)
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
10.9 hrs on record
Posted: September 24
An excellent but difficult metroidvania. If you like that sort of game, you'll probably really like this as long as you're fine with the increased difficulty. If you're not a fan of that sort of game, definitely pass on this one. If you're not already a big metroidvania fan, I think it's unlikely that you'll enjoy playing through all of this game.

I should've listened to the negative reviews. Before buying, take a moment to read through what people have to say about this, and trust what they are saying.

First of all, you need pencil and paper in order to play this game. If that doesn't sound appealing to you, give this a pass. You'll need to do a lot of writing down everything you read. If you don't, you'll probably forget a vital clue and waste a bunch of time wandering around, stuck. I think it's unfortunate that the game doesn't do a better job of helping you keep track of what you read. There are a few in-game items that can help you slightly, but you can miss them and they only keep track of a small number of things you read.

You will get stuck a lot in this game. When you're stuck, you have to wander around. Most of the hours I spent on this game involved just wandering around and exploring and trying to figure out what I need to do to progress. For me, that's just not very fun. I think the main thing that makes puzzles so difficult in this game is that they are spread out so far. I am a big fan of puzzle games, but I am not a big fan of the puzzles in this game. Because they involve having to traverse around the map and try different things and read things, they end up taking a lot of time to solve, and quite a bit of that time is just not fun - going through the same areas over and over and killing the same enemies and hearing the same music.

Even when you know what you need to do, you still may end up spending a lot of time bored because of the amount of time it can take to move around the game world. There are certain areas later in the game that you do not have the ability to warp to until you get a certain item. So they are essentially telling you that your reward for getting the item is that you don't have to waste as much of your life traveling around. I find that sort of situation telling of this game's design philosophy. They don't seem to be too concerned about players having to spend time doing things that aren't fun. I come to games to have fun so that's a problem for me.

I think the developer of this game focused more on just building an intricate, mysterious labrynth first and giving you the experience of an explorer trying to make their way through that structure, and I think they delivered on that. As part of achieving that, it's totally understandable why there's lots of moments where someone like me gets frustrated and bored. The game doesn't care about my moment-to-moment level of entertainment, it cares primarily about achieving that vision. But when I'm playing something, I'm constantly asking myself "am I having fun? is this how I really want to spend my evening / weekend? At the end of the day, will I be satisfied with how I spent my day if I keep playing?". With this game, I found the answer to all those questions ended up being "no". Just think of everything you could be doing instead of spending yet another 5 minutes backtracking to the last place you died so you can make another attempt at the boss.

Also, let's talk about the music. By itself the music is great, but we are playing a game here. Good game music has to respect the fact that it's not the only thing going on. This game makes the mistake of so many other indie games where they have a short, loud (musically speaking, not talking about sheer volume), busy song played way too often (on loop). With the amount of time you end up spending in the same area, you'll probably start to get some serious listening fatigue. Take super metroid as a good counterexample. They save the busy stuff for short, intense moments in the game (boss fights, escape sequences). During the actual exploration the music becomes much more atmospheric with long notes and moments of quiet. I think this fits the game a lot better and prevents you from hating the game because you're sick of the music.

So, if you're someone who can put up with lots of the things that you find in metroidvanias - backtracking, corpse runs, wandering around with no clue where to go, you'll have a great time with this game. Otherwise, if you're someone like me who isn't necessarilly a metroidvania fan but just wants to have a consistently fun experience, look elsewhere. There's so many games out there that provide consistently better fun / hour. I value my time too much to justify what this game asks me to do.
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
8.6 hrs on record
Posted: September 26
did you want a nice, forgiving, easy-but-not-too-easy challenge?

too bad, this is La-Mulana

10/10 makes you want to throw your computer out the window, then put it back together five minutes later so you can keep playing
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
45.2 hrs on record
Posted: September 5
Basically a Metroidvania more aimed to puzzles and clue hunting. The ruins are massive, and puzzles will get more complicated as you advance in the game, to the point that you will need to write down some tips and possibly look up in the internet what to do when you're nearing the endgame. It's very satisfying to do it in your own. Controls feel a bit weird, specially in the jumping mechanics, but it's not too bad. Music is amazing, one of my favorite OSTs of all time. Definitely recommended if you like exploring and solving puzzles, and wondering why God hates humanity as well.

Gameplay - 7/10
Difficulty - 9/10
Music - 10/10
Graphics - 8/10
Replayability - 7/10
Overall - 8/10
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1 of 6 people (17%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
2.9 hrs on record
Posted: September 20
So far terrible. It's a game that is WAY too cryptic (in a bad way), even just in the simplest mechanics. It literally took me like 5 minutes just to figure out how to close out of the game. (for some reason alt+f4 doesn't work.) It never explains the controls, or how to use the "laptop" item properly, so you assume half of the items are unusable until you stumble on the "download" option while trying to figure out how to close the game. I will give it a chance, and possible change my review later on, but as for now, I give it a 1/5 practically unplayable.
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1 of 11 people (9%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
0.4 hrs on record
Posted: September 12
The controls are clunky, it's unclear how to perform basic actions without a guide, and the game crashes when I tab out to look up every minute detail of things that should be obvious. That's about it. I didn't play enough to comment on the story or puzzles, so if awkward NES game controls and obtuse mechanics don't turn you off feel free to ignore my review. Personally, I don't have time for games that don't want to be played.
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
222 of 257 people (86%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
114.1 hrs on record
Posted: November 25, 2013
A very hard, very deep and very fun metroidvania. I've never seen another game in this genre as close to perfection as this.

Be warned though, some puzzles can be very, VERY obtuse and often puzzles will have components in completely unrelated areas to that in which you are solving a puzzle.

Of course, this game makes no secret of reveling in unfair and brutal design. May God have mercy on your soul if you attempt the Hell Temple on Hard mode...
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210 of 249 people (84%) found this review helpful
35 people found this review funny
60.8 hrs on record
Posted: December 30, 2013
Minimum Hardware Requirements:
Gluttony for punishment
Pen and paper
Internet connection (if all else fails)

Recommended Hardware:
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82 of 86 people (95%) found this review helpful
37 people found this review funny
126.6 hrs on record
Posted: January 26, 2015
Lamulana is a game where half-Japanese Indiana Jones goes into a temple for worshipping a lovecraftian elder god. He stays in there for months upon end and teleporting is the LEAST weirdest thing he has to do every few minutes.

Lamulana is a game where you MUST, and I mean MUUUUUUUST, write down EVERY glyph you find and EVERY conversation you have with a dead skeleton lying on the ground on a sheet of paper and tape it all onto the walls. Yes, your real, physical walls. Arrange them into a map based on WHERE in the La-Mulana ruins you found each note. Ready some strings and pins because you're going to need to make arbitrary connections with two notes in entirely different locations with possible relations.

Oh, the La-Mulana ruins? It's non-euclidean. That means it's full of distorted/repeating space connected by portals all over the place that doesn't make any sense at all. It drives a lesser man insane. BUT NOT YOU. NO. You note that all down, too! Oh, and you want to be able to fold each area so it'll become a 5x4 square, btw. Don't think about it too hard. Just keep that in the back of you're head because you're going to need it at the end game. Just saying, every area in the game might be shaped like a 4D donut with varying directions of gravity.

I went and took a sheet of paper and listed every lamulanese characters and its english equivalent. It took forever and I have no idea why I have no life and am such a loser. I was actually having fun. What is wrong with me. I learned to write an entirely fictional language.
(Me decyphering ancient tablets by hand.)

I disabled the glyph reader. It's a waste of virtual MSX laptop's memory. I can just read it right off the tablet. Both normal and inverted.

tl;dr La-Mulana is a pretty hard game, but you'll have so much fun pushing yourself to survive it all.
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78 of 81 people (96%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
65.3 hrs on record
Posted: February 16, 2015
La-Mulana is two things: a profound work of art, and a monumental "screw you" to every modern game design philosophy.

The game does not ease you into experience; it demands your full attention and investment from the moment you turn it on. It then throws you, a small and powerless character, into a huge, dangerous world without any sort of guidance or sense of direction, forcing you to spend dozens of hours reading text, deciphering cryptic riddles, memorizing the map layouts, and learning the world's lore if you wish to progress.

To call the difficulty "retro" would be a disservice; the gameplay consists of all the worst parts of Castlevania backtracking, Myst puzzles, trial-and-error gameplay, and punishing NES-style platforming. Every room is filled with the most irritating enemies imaginable. The main character's controls are stiff and terrible, resembling Donkey Kong or Speulunker. You lose complete control of your movement when falling or taking damage, so one wrong jump or a hit from an enemy could knock you down several screens and force you to do everything all over again. Sometimes the game will drop you through an invisible trapdoor to the same effect, and expect you to remember where it was, or an enemy will hit you immediately after a screen transition, and you will just have to learn to enter the room from a different way next time. The gameplay can only be described as emotionally draining, and it only ever gets harder and never apologizes for itself.

The rules and physics are not even consistent, as puzzles will often involve illusionary walls, invisible platforms, unclear objectives, mysterious event flags that trigger under arbitrary conditions and don't tell you what they changed, specific items or weapons you aren't guaranteed to have discovered yet, the understanding and abuse of the minute physics of said items and weapons, rooms which wrap around to other parts of the map in non-Euclidian ways, familiar objects that don't work the way they always have, inconspicuous background decorations that are actually important, and the ever-classic instant-death traps. Your only hope to solve the puzzles, aside from just "try everything", is to look for hints that could literally be anywhere else in the entire game with no rhyme or reason to their placement. The key hint could be on a tablet you might have read hours ago in another area. Sometimes a puzzle will require a dozen hints that are literally strewn all over the entire game. Your time means absolutely nothing to the game; the game assumes you have all the time in the world to study it like a college course, practice until you can defeat erratic and unfair enemies, perform long sections of brutally frustrating platforming, and bang your head against the wall as you wander around for hours because you have no earthy idea where to go next.

And yet...

If you stick with the game through all of the hardships, you will be rewarded with one of the most intricate, creepy, and powerful stories ever to be portrayed in a video game. The story starts out with perhaps hundreds of cryptic hints that will make absolutely no sense, until halfway through the game when some key revelations come to light. Suddenly, everything just clicks into place as the backstory becomes a stunning mosaic. Your mind might be blown as you realize that everything, from the position of every area, to the contents of nearly every room, to the words of every strange character and cryptic tablet, to the placement of every decoration, is there for a reason relevant to the narrative. Even the main character, as he stumbles clumsily through the cluttered and deathly labyrinths of the ruins, becomes relatable as he bears witness to the remnants of something ancient and tragic. There really is nothing else like La-Mulana's story in the way it is conveyed, and it must be experienced firsthand to be believed. It might even leave you hungering for a second playthrough just so you can breeze through the challenges with a sense of foresight and appreciate all the details you might have missed the first time.

Just be warned, it is not a game that expects you to beat it, to enjoy it, or even to play it in the first place. The motivation to push forward must come entirely from the player, as the game certainly has no regard for valuing your time or stringing you along with promises of fun and reward. But it demands to be witnessed, appreciated, and analyzed, much like a thick Shakespearean play or a picture in an art museum. If anything, it is deeply fascinating both as a work of art and as a bold statement about gameplay design, and it is highly satisfying to unravel and conquer its mysteries. But above all, it is definitely not for everybody.
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71 of 74 people (96%) found this review helpful
14 people found this review funny
41.4 hrs on record
Posted: August 30, 2014
You read the description, you think: "Oh alright it is going to have some pretty tough puzzles but it is a 2D slasher RPG/Metroid thing...I'll eventually fight my way through.



You will die, you will be lost for ages. You will forget which way is up, what progress feels like, and dream of air control when jumping straight up. I played this game for 40+ hours, WITHOUT using a guide once. I eventually broke down and looked up the very next step I had to take. After that, I progressed and got stuck AGAIN. Looked up the guide for one more push and got stuck AGAIN. I felt defeated as when I found something out and moved forward, I would be stuck for another countless amount of hours.

I challenge anyone who reads this and hasn't played the game: Attempt the game without using a guide for as long as you can and truly feel what is is like to be helpless. I say to you, as a gamer this:

I personally believe one CANNOT beat this game without ever using a guide for assistance no matter how small the step.

The music, presentation, pull, exploration is top notch however! Buy this ♥♥♥♥ and experience utter hell (And maybe some enjoyment)
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Recently Posted
8.3 hrs
Posted: August 27
the "better Spelunky"
Helpful? Yes No Funny
49.2 hrs
Posted: August 21
Never did I have a harder time writing a review than before. What should I do? I think I will look at the different aspects of the game.

The basic premise: You play Lemeza Kosugi, an archeologist who wants to explore La-Mulana, also known as the ruins. So you are doing exploration.
Lemeza doesn’t have much character and frankly, he doesn’t have to because what makes this game good is the story behind the story.
If it was for the story alone, this game would earn full score and a recommendation because I love the creativity behind this.

Given that it is a retro game, the graphics look great. The different parts of the ruins are all beautiful and can be easily distinguished. At parts I just stopped to take in the scenery.
The animation of the enemies is smooth and they look also pretty great, especially the bosses.
If it was for graphics alone, I would also give a recommendation.

Alright, here I’m indecisive. When it comes to dungeon music, some pieces are repetitive and too short for my taste. Then there are themes that start to get on my nerve after a while (e.g. hell temple). However the boss pieces fit their respective fights perfectly. Tiamat’s and The Mother’s music pieces are the best of the bunch. Also the theme of the true shrine of mother is something I could listen for hours.

It is so weird. If you look at my profile you will notice that I’ve got more than 70% out of all the possible achievements. On the one hand, if you manage to figure something out and solve a puzzle, it just feels great. On the other hand, the way there. Let me tell you how my first time with La Mulana went.
I got inside the ruins and started to investigate them. I explored them and eventually got to the mausoleum of the giants. I got the save point there and scanned every tablet. Eventually I stumbled upon one that warned me to read it again. Eager to see what would happen, I looked at it again and started Hard Mode. Without a holy grail to teleport from tablet to tablet, without anything. It was hard to get out of the mausoleum and to the hot springs on the surface again. Then I tried it again, entered the ruins and this time got to the temple of the sun. Here my journey ended. I didn’t have enough weights to open the doors.

At this point I gave up and watched a playthrough and learned that you can get the grail at the very beginning and that it is basically required to beat this game.

This angered me so much.
I respect that La Mulana gives you the chance to go wherever you want right at the beginning (like you can go to the giant monster protecting the feather and die there if you feel like it or to the waterfall at the other side and die in the water). HOWEVER too much freedom can alienate players to the point where they will just give up.
First impressions are very important for certain people and this wasn’t a good impression.
I dare say there should be a beginners’ mode to help players get what they need at the beginning like the Holy Grail before making the game world open to explore as you like.

Speaking of the grail, I am not done yet. There is a problem gameplay wise and that’s Lemeza’s laptop. Let’s say you have found the tablets of the main areas like the mausoleum of the giants or the gate of guidance. Later on you find other areas like the tower of the goddess or the tower of ruin. Can you teleport there with the Holy Grail?
Yes, if you install special software for it.
Why would you need that?!
Why does it work with the main areas but not with the special areas unless you use software? Why would software make an ancient artifact do that?!

I’m sorry, this just hurts. What does a piece of software do to an ancient artifact to make it teleport Lemeza to places it didn’t before?! My suspension of disbelief is gone here.

But it goes on with this problem: So our hero has found a map of a specific area and you press F1 to look at it. Can you see it?
No, you can’t: You need to install a specific piece of software to see it. An additional kind of software to gain details. So you need the map, the software to display it AND additional software to see details. Sorry, why? If it was only two steps (like most games do like Zelda: You need a map and a compass to get the most out of it) I would accept it, but three?

However the worst part: Some of the software you gain doesn’t even tell you exactly what it does. Why?
Overall I didn’t like the part with the software. If all of it told me what it does and if there was a list of software combinations to look up, I would like it. But how it currently is? No thanks.

Yet another problem in this game is healing. What can you do to heal yourself?
First: Finding hot springs, jumping in there.
Second: Gaining enough experience points will restore HP. This is done by collecting green energy balls.
Third: Finding a healing fairy (which have a 50% chance to appear)

That is all. You won’t get healed at save spots and you don’t have healing items.
This makes this game much harder than it needs to be. For example GBA Castlevania games are much more forgiving: You have dangerous places but you can buy and use healing items and getting to a save spot restores all your HP.
Speaking of save spots, they are too far away from the bosses if you ask me. Especially when I was about to face the final boss, that took way too long. Or Bahamut.

Furthermore: Lemeza is a bit stiff to control at the beginning. Until he gets some decent equipment like the feather or the software that makes him go faster (however this is supposed to work in reality), he is a pain to control. Especially the jump at the beginning is hard to control.
Also, what bothered me from beginning to end was the knockback. When Lemeza gets hit, he flies back two blocks. Let’s say he falls down a deep chasm. He will fall and fall and fall after falling back two blocks. This can be very frustrating, especially the first time in the inferno chambers where the lava drains away health like no tomorrow. In conjunction with not buying the item that lets you open the laptop in lava this can lead to a game over very fast for one simple mistake.

Speaking of mistakes, sometimes I couldn’t believe what mean tricks some ruins pulled. Like the gate of illusion where you need to teleport by walking into certain walls. Oh, and instant death traps. Some that can’t even be predicted. This can be super frustrating.

So what I did: My first run left such a horrible taste that I stuck to a speedrunner video to play through this game. I have to say, the endgame is better than the beginning. Lemeza can double jump, moves faster, is versatile… and I had enough motivation left to beat the hell temple after finishing the game.

However 72% is the farthest I’ll go in this game. Beating final boss gave me a hard time and I’ll never fight her again. Not under the current circumstances.
Given that not even 5% have actually finished the game, here are some suggestions now that I’ve heard that La Mulana 2 is in the making:

First: More guidance in the beginning.
Second: The healing issue. It is just so bothering. I suggest save spots that heal and having healing items to ease it up a little.
Third: The software gimmick needs to be revised. Like secret software actually telling what it can do.

So what should I do? Bash this game for making my first time with it a nightmare? Praise it for its other aspects that come midway through and at the end?
Well, I am 52% pro and 48% contra so I will give it a pass.
The way La Mulana is currently, I can only recommend playing it with a guide until you get the Holy Grail and then investigating on your own if you want to play it the way it’s meant to be. It’s just to spare you the frustration I had at the beginning.

However I do love the backstory of this game and look forward to see what the developers will do with the sequel.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
8.9 hrs
Posted: August 21
This use to be my love...

... now it's my life.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
14.3 hrs
Posted: August 16
Controls is so annoying! There is no way to reliably kill monsters, every time it's 50/50, either you kill it, or it bites you. Puzzle texts doesn't make any sense.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
3.2 hrs
Posted: August 15
This game gives me the Sp00k m9.
Helpful? Yes No Funny