A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Mulaka is an action/adventure game available for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PC. The game is heavily based on the lore and culture of the Native American Tarahumara tribe in Mexico. As an action/adventure game, there's a lot of combat throughout. While there's some minor blood shown, the violence is more flash and style than blood and gore. The game also goes beyond constant combat, testing players with a number of puzzles that require problem-solving and critical-thinking skills versus quick reflexes.
What's it about?
The story of MULAKA is about a Sukurúame or "child of the stars," a shaman of the Tarahumara tribe. When the Lord of the Underworld begins to corrupt the land, the fate of the world lies in the balance. Determined to drive back the corruption, Mulaka sets out on a quest to earn the blessings of the animal demigods, who in turn grant Mulaka their power and their form as he battles against forces of darkness. Based on the lore of the Tarahumara people, Mulaka is an adventure steeped in culture and rich in legend. Players must face off against creatures pulled from tribal mythology, such as the gigantic Ganoko, the soul-eating Rusíwari, and the fire-spitting Sipabuara, while also using the ability to shape-shift to solve environmental puzzles inspired by real Sierra Tarahumara locations.
Is it any good?
Anyone with a thirst for adventure and a hunger for story can find more than their fill by taking a closer look at the mythology and lore found in this game. Mulaka is a beautifully rendered case that cultural stories can provide incredible experiences. Inspired by the lore from the Tarahumara tribe, the game faithfully brings to life the wonder of tales passed down for generations. Although the whole "save the world from encroaching evil" theme has been done time and time again, the story here still manages to feel unique. These are characters and entities that are the foundation of an entire culture. They have a natural feel because they have been developed and refined for centuries. It's an engaging experience that piques the curiosity of players and encourages them to discover more outside of the boundaries of the game.
As rich as the story's origins might be, the simple truth is that none of it would matter if the actual game wasn't fun to play. Thankfully, that's not an issue here. The game has a simplified, artistic look that flows in motion. It's almost like someone has breathed life into the paintings of the Tarahumara ancestors. The controls are simple but effective. Combat and motion tie together well, allowing a range of movements to best dodge enemies and get in position to attack their weak spots. The controls also work nicely for the platform elements of the game, though admittedly, the camera can sometimes make it difficult to gauge certain jumps or navigate some obstacles. It's not enough to take away from the experience by any means, but it can cause the occasional frustration. But any time you transform into a bird and fly over a village, or into a bear charging through the woods, those frustrations quickly fade. You feel like a real part of the world around you, and an integral part of a truly timeless tale.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about cultural awareness. What are some ways that other cultures are represented in games, and how can games be used to teach gamers about other beliefs and ways of life?
Discuss how style can affect the message of a game. What are some of the ways that different artistic styles can help to express the overall theme and message in a video game? When does realism work best and when can a more unique style make a bigger impact?
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Subjects: Language & Reading: storytelling
Social Studies: cultural understanding
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: investigation
Responsibility & Ethics: respect for others
- Price: $19.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Lienzo
- Release date: February 27, 2018
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Science and Nature, Wild Animals
- ESRB rating: T for Blood, Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.