Rock Bottom: Groupees Bundle Includes La Mulana

By Adam Smith on December 21st, 2012 at 11:13 am.

The new Groupees bundle includes loads of games but I haven’t even heard of most of them. It’s a ‘pay what you want’ deal, although the minimum price rises as you add more games from the selection. Two games will set you back a minimum of $1.50 and the reason I’m posting about it at all is that buying any two adds La Mulana to your order as a freebie. If you don’t know about La Mulana, I’ll consider that at least partly my fault because I’ve been meaning to write down wot I think about it for months but, somehow, I always fail. I am a failure. La Mulana, however, is a roaring success. If you like Spelunky*, Metroid or Dark Souls, you should spend $1.50 to buy La Mulana.

As for the others, take your pick. Recruits is an early version but quite entertaining in a Cannon Foddery sort of way and Salvation Prophecy looks like an interesting space adventure. This is all about La Mulana though. You have just under ten days to make your decision. Maybe someone will give you a dollar for Christmas!

* It’s not actually very much like Spelunky at all apart from superficial graphical similarities, having caves and being great.

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44 Comments »

  1. ran93r says:

    It’s Rick Dangerous!

    • VeronicaWadlington says:

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  2. Alien426 says:

    I was lukewarm on the bundle. But this morning I took a look at the games (videos, Greenlight pages) and actually bought all of them except Beware Planet Earth!, which isn’t my thing style- and probably gameplay-wise.

  3. ThinkAndGrowWitcher says:

    ERROR! RPS research fail (due to mince pie overload)…

    You need to buy 2 (or more) games from the 9 Greenlight ones. You then also get La Mulana as a free bonus (plus soundtrack and other bits and bonus-bobs). So for any cheap-xmas-ice-skates that’s potentially a quid for 3 decent games in your stocking.

    Personally, I’ve found way more fun than the $5-ish minimum it costs to slap down for all nine. A nice varied selection.

    Apparently Steam keys thrown your way if the games ever make it through (non-issue anyway if you’re happy with them adding festive cloggage to your Desura client).

  4. Isair says:

    It seems La Mulana is actually a bonus game, so if you pick a minimum of two other games, you get it for free.

  5. golem09 says:

    I wasn’t able to buy it for 1.50$
    I wouldn’t have spent 15$ on La Mulana probably, but 1.50$ is almost as dirty is pirating it.
    So I went halfway and put in 7$

  6. tobecooper says:

    So any opinions on the games from people who played them? Any hidden gems?

    Defending earth from aliens who want to steal my cows, and using electrical appliances to do so, sounds right up my alley. But the gameplay looks very bland and generic. So Beware Planet Earth is a no.

    Private Investigator sounds absolutely fantastic on paper, but looks like an early alpha on the screen. But it seem this is actually an alpha. So I might bite.

    • Klarden says:

      Actually Private Investigator is unfinished as of now, yeah. I still got it and Ooze, which is a rather nice fun simle platformer with Rayman inspired visuals.
      La-Mulana is fantastic, though.

      • ShineyBlueShoes says:

        For less than a dollar I’m think of getting it still since it looks wonderful conceptually and if it’s still being improved worth supporting.

    • YeOldeSnake says:

      To the game’s defense, it is a pure stealth game without any action. You can’t really get a video of something like that which will look very impressive and interesting.

  7. Eldiran says:

    La-Mulana is great… and abysmally designed. You know the kind of game. It’s the labour of love that has been refined and polished and perfectly tuned… to hate you. You’ll have a great time, until it stops you and says “guess what number the developers were thinking of between 1 and 1,000,000,000!” You’ll never guess it.

    Suffice to say if you should only ever play La-Mulana with a walkthrough at hand. You don’t have to consult it at all times, but when you get stuck, don’t hesitate to look up what the developers wanted you to do. And trust me, you’ll have to. This isn’t some easy amateur puzzle like using cat hair to make a mustache. This game will stop you 12 hours in and require you to use verbs that never existed before this moment and will cease to exist afterward, without any hint as to why or how.

    I’m not just being a pansy player and exaggerating about this game by the way. Only the psychically prescient could beat La-Mulana unaided. That said, it’s still solid fun at it’s core, so if you have Gamefaqs bookmarked, go for it.

    • Klarden says:

      Actually, it’s quite okay – it has a ton of hints and such in the game itself, you just have to be patient and cautious. It’s hard to get stuck in the game until few later parts. And this is a great improvement over the original free version, which truly was pretty obscure at times and was much more hating towards the player (which was kinda the point of the original release, to emulate the older MSX way of design). La-Mulana is kind of like 2D Demon’s/Dark Souls in terms of design and experience, just without a complex battle system and more on platforming and puzzles.

      • Eldiran says:

        Yeah, I would dread playing the original… but I would definitely not say it’s okay. The majority of puzzles are fine. But every now and again there will be a (mandatory) puzzle that just defies explanation. I can list a few of them, but I’m trying to avoid spoilers.

        • Klarden says:

          There are some things which are hard to understand (and i haven’t tried Hell Temple, and afraid to -_-), so i guess, yeah it is good to have a walkthrough or watch DeceasedCrab let’s play from time to time, but rarely, if at any point, actually needed. There are things to improve even more, though, i can agree on that.
          Still, La-Mulana transfer from free to paid game is one of the best I’ve seen (along with Dear Esther) – improving all the weakest points, but still keeping all the original ideas and spirit.

          • Yglorba says:

            They removed the Mother Ocean puzzle from the remake, which was probably the hardest one in the original (outside of Hell Temple, which is supposed to be utterly unfair.) The Weight of Hearts puzzle is still there, but you can now try again if you get it wrong. I guess the hardest puzzle still in the remake is probably deducing the correct Mantra locations? And maybe figuring out the correct way to get the Medicine of Life, but that you can do by brute force if you have to.

          • Skabooga says:

            Ah, Hell Temple. Actually finding the damn thing would have been entirely impossible for me without a step-by-step guide provided by a walkthrough (at least, in the original version it was, I’m not sure how it is in this updated version). Doing the Hell Temple itself was . . . well, it was still a pain, but at least within the scope of my feeble platform skills.

          • Eldiran says:

            I haven’t been to Hell Temple. In fact I’ve only just beaten Palenque (last guardian), which apparently means I haven’t been exposed to any of the worst puzzles yet. That is frankly terrifying to me.

            The primary roadblocks I’m thinking of are a few instances in the (barely a spoiler) Gate of Illusion that involve using objects in ways that don’t make sense. There’s also a similarly stupid puzzle in the Mausoleum of the Giants. (end of barely a spoiler) Scanning can solve a lot of the puzzles, but there are no proper hints for these.

            These are just the worst offenders I can think of and are by no means the only puzzles that are poorly designed.

          • Yglorba says:

            You’ll be happy to hear that the Mausoleum of the Giants puzzle was made easier in the remake (in the original, it was flat out impossible to solve it if you approached it in a straightforward fashion — there was a very, very vague hint on one tablet that indicated that it was impossible to solve that way, but it was so obscure that you’d never understand it until after you figured it out, and usually not even then. But thankfully, yes, that puzzle was changed.)

            The Confusion Gate puzzles are, well, confusing, but they can be solved entirely accidentally simply by wandering around the ruins — in fact, I seem to recall that that’s what happened to me.

          • Eldiran says:

            I’m already playing the remake : (

            I don’t think you’d discover the solutions to the puzzles I’m thinking of unless you button mashed in very specific places.

        • Dominic White says:

          You can’t really use the Hell Temple as a metric of anything, anywhere. It’s meant to be a ridiculously well hidden secret area that literally contains every gameplay element that the devs vetoed during development due to it being too unfair.

    • Trithne says:

      Driving the wedges.
      Making the Medicine of the Mind.
      Summoning the last child of Tiamat.
      These three things in particular drove me near insane.

      Everything is explained in the game, mind you. Everything. On the tablets, and the walls, and in the dialogues. SCAN EVERYTHING. WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN. STUDY IT.

      • Dominic White says:

        Yeah, the game is actually designed to make you think like an archaeologist. Take notes, cross-reference things, test theories and read absolutely everything you find with text on it. That throws a lot of people off – if you’re the kind to skip cutscenes, La-Mulana will just seem random and arbitrary, but it’s very much possible to beat the whole thing just using what the game gives you.

    • stillunverified says:

      I’ve played 10 hours so far and only had to look up a walkthrough twice, pretty early on, and both because of my own incompetence (1. Thinking I was supposed to get the second seal earlier than I actually should have, when killing the next boss would have revealed exactly where it was, and 2. Forgetting to write down the positions of the seal symbols), the puzzles so far have been perfectly logical if you’ve actually been paying attention to what the game tells you.

  8. lordcooper says:

    How is this game like Dark Souls?

    • BooleanBob says:

      It’s hard. All hard games* are now ‘like Dark Souls’ according to games media. Where have you been for the last year and a half?!

      * The ones journos want to heap praise on, I mean. The ones they don’t are just plain old ‘too hard’, ‘spitefully difficult’ or ‘poorly designed’ as ever.

      (I am being excessively snarky and do apologise for that, it isn’t Adam’s fault and RPS is far from the worst site for this but it does bug me.)

      • Klarden says:

        Despite you being sarcastic, i will still reply. La-Mulana is “like Dark Souls” not because of the difficulty, but because of several design choices and gameplay feel, as in – they’re both dead wom– sorry, they’re both focused on cautious and careful exploration of the open world (as in metroid open). The difference is that Souls games focus on complex combat, and La-Mulana focuses on platforming and puzzles.
        Obviously, there’s no online play in La-Mulana, which is a defining feature of Souls, but La-Mulana still focuses on reading messages on dead bodies:)

      • secuda says:

        annoys me as well how it become todays synonym of hard games. gees guys.

    • SavageTech says:

      While I agree that “like Dark Souls” is getting old as a stand-in for “punishes your scrotum with a burlap sack full of razorblades,” it actually fits La Mulana more than most games I’ve seen it applied to. The former, that is.

      Both games task you with exploring an ancient labyrinth full of traps and monsters hell-bent on your destruction. Save points are few and far between, and enemies are constantly respawned so even previously “cleared” areas are still dangerous. You’re given very little in the way of hints and must consult the dead if you need guidance.

      That’s not an exhaustive list, but IMO the comparison is pretty apt because the two games evoke a similar feeling of perilous adventure.

  9. Totally heterosexual says:

    I love this game.

    Pain at it’s finest.

  10. ShatteredAwe says:

    I would like to report that Wooden Sen-SaY is actualy quite fun, despite it’s appearance. I also bought I Shall Remain, but I’m still playing around with it.

  11. JackDandy says:

    The fact that it hasn’t been Greenlit yet is a goddamn outrage. What the heck is Valve doing?

    • InternetBatman says:

      Letting customers decide what games they want.

      • Pryde says:

        Yeeeaaahhh… Riiight… Like that time not too long ago when Valve let us decide that we really want, for example, WarZ. Yeeeaaahhh. That game totally was greenlit by us – the community – and was in no way some indication of Valve’s hypocrisy. Because, well, ALL games need to go through Greenlight now, you know. ALL of them, yeah.

        • darkChozo says:

          Greenlight was never supposed to be the only way to get all games on Steam, just games from new indie devs. WarZ got on Steam because the developers already had a game on Steam, and therefore they could skip the Greenlight process.

          • Pryde says:

            Yeah, I know that. But the qustioned argument was “What the heck is Valve doing?”.

            And, as you confirmed, Valve really totally is letting us decdie what we want. Exсept the fact that we are free to decide on only a small portion of it – where Valve decides it’s free and safe to let us decide. Phew. Real democracy.

            So what Vale is really doing – making some human-faced PR with Greenlight, shitting on our heads with frauds like WarZ at the same time and keeping good (I guess, though I just bought it and will find out eventually) games out.

            Still love Gaben though, no way around it.

          • lordcooper says:

            No. Developers/Publishers with games already on Steam have always been able to bypass the application process. If you don’t already have a game on Steam, Greenlight in now the sole way of getting on there.

    • belgand says:

      Or you could just buy it on GOG. Yes, it’s a shame that it’s not on Steam, but they’re not the end-all, be-all of the PC gaming world. Even aside from buying it direct it’s on some of the shops.

  12. Danopian says:

    Thank you!

  13. Jabberwocky says:

    Well, since Salvation Prophecy was mentioned in the main article, I feel like I should give the greenlight page link

    “Space adventure” – sounds about right!

  14. Skabooga says:

    Also, I would absolutely love to read your ‘Wot I Thought’ on La-Mulana, Adam.

  15. Sugoi says:

    For everyone who hasn’t, PLEASE vote for La-Mulana on Greenlight. It’s been incredibly close to making it in for a while now, but just needs one strong push to make it in.

  16. YeOldeSnake says:

    I like how the article focuses on La Mulana and completely ignores the other obscure gems the bundle features.

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