Skip to main content

Mosa Lina is an immersive sim for people who hate the perfectionism of immersive sims

"Fun things happen more often if you don't force them."

A parody image of immersive sim Mosa Lina showing a conspiracy theorist pointing to a doodled-on screenshot of the game
Image credit: rabricated.feality/Stuffed Wombat

Immersive sims like Dishonored or System Shock can be very fulfilling, but they are also oddly stressful. After all, the flipside of the genre mantra of solving problems through imaginative application of the tools is that when you achieve a boring solution, that's all your fault. Did you miss the final jump while trying for a complex, third-storey infiltration in Deathloop, resulting in a sadly non-immersive firefight in the courtyard below? Did you fail to combo those magical abilities and terrain variables as the developers hoped - nay, dreamed you would, forcing you to rely on ye olde cover-shoot tactics to reach the checkpoint? Shame on you! Don't you know how much imsims cost to develop? Go back to Open-Ended Systems School and retake that course in The Power of Choice. Also, consider playing Mosa Lina instead.

It's out now on Steam, and is an immersive sim in which the tools available and the order of levels are randomised. This obliges experimentation, but it's also relaxing: you have no control over the options and obstacles, so no biggie if you don't do anything that colourful or majestic with them. The developer himself, Stuffed Wombat, admits that he's not able to check if every last level is beatable with any combination of tools. "It's this reckless abandon of predictability that allows you to stop worrying about 'winning' and frees you to enjoy the experimentation," he writes on the Steam page. "Fun things happen more often if you don't force them." Oh thank god.

Watch on YouTube

Aside from being comfort food for recovering Arkane junkies, Mosa Lina might also appeal if you've played a lot of old physics-heavy Flash games and especially, the crackpot multiplayer sandboxer Transformice. It's a 2D platform affair in which objects jostle together and react to impacts intuitively. The aim in each level is to gather coins to open portals, but the difficulty spikes up and down depending on which gizmos you're handed at the outset. Try building bridges when all you have to work with are bombs.

Stuffed Wombat is at pains to note that the levels aren't procedurally generated, spelling out that "tools and levels are handmade, they are just randomly selected and sometimes slightly modified." He's also promising a lot of post-release support.

"Since everything in Mosa Lina is built on randomly selecting content from a pool of options, it's fairly easy to add new levels, tools and challenges down the line," the developer writes. "I've had to cut a lot of things for scope and am looking forward to adding them back in post-release. There's some really, really, really wonky stuff I'm looking forward to getting back to!"

Sounds like there's plenty of wonk at the time of writing. If you need more convincing, there's an older, browser-based version of Mosa Lina on Stuffed Wombat's other smaller-scale and/or game-jammy creations are worth a look too. In other news, rumour has it that indie gaming is on the verge of an immersive sim eruption.

Read this next