Devolver Digital, that you no doubt are aware of this year thanks to their stellar press conference, has a lot they show off games at across from the convention center at E3. They show off games they publish, of course, but also give other indie developers the opportunity to show off their games as well. One such game was Mulaka by Lienzo, an action RPG set in northern Mexico.
The developers were hesitant to focus too much on the fact that Mulaka explores the culture of the Tarahumara people, an indigenous people of northern Mexico, for fear that Mulaka may be described as an education game. Mulaka most certainly is not a game about education first and foremost; however, Lienzo does use the culture of the Tarahumara and the places they live as the setting for the game. By playing the game you'll learn more about these people tangentially; it's not the main focus.
For the history nerds, and those just interested in other cultures in general, here's something from Mulaka's press kit that you should find exciting:
Mulaka is being designed hand in hand with renowned anthropologists and Tarahumara leaders to capture the true essence of the culture in the game. We have unearthed old books, crumbling texts and forgotten diaries and gotten the most playable elements, as well as the coolest myths and stories and recorded authentic Rarámuri dialogue.Where Lienzo may fear this may label Mulaka as an educational game, I see this pointing towards a well-realized world for players to participate in. When the setting of a game can be handled well, it can elevate a game to another level. The fact that the setting for Mulaka is based on a real group of people is just icing.
You play as the Sukurúame, a shaman who can interact with the gods and equipped with great abilities to face mythical creatures. The game's all about solving puzzles, fighting enemies, and running around the landscape.
The gods see a lot of bad things running through the world and are in a debate as to whether or not they should wipe it out altogether. The Sukurúame goes out to try to rally the demi-gods to save humanity.
Getting back to the Tarahumara culture, every enemy you encounter, even the lowly fodder you'll run across time and again, is inspired by something from the culture of the people. There may be some story, myth, or legend that mentions this sort of beast, and that's where the enemies have been created.
The gameplay is hack and slashy with some fantastical elements thrown in for good measure. I got to play a pre-alpha build that was pretty rough, but did seem promising. I was getting the feel of a 3D Zelda game in the early stages, with more platforming elements thrown in.
It's too early to say either way whether Mulaka will be a good game, but it definitely has me intrigued. It does not have a release date yet and will be coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
If you want to know more about this and other announcements happening at E3 then be sure to check out our E3 2017 Coverage Hub.