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Native Mexican myth and legend come alive in Mulaka

Tales as old as the sand itself

We live in a world rich in stories. Countless legends and myths just begging to be retold, and yet games so often fall back on tried-and-tested sci-fi and fantasy tropes. Little grey aliens, Klingons, Goblins and Orcs are so prevalent that anything truly unfamiliar feels like a breath of fresh air.

Mulaka, an upcoming action-adventure by studio Lienzo stands out from the crowd. Breaking from fantasy tradition, it's based around the myths and legends told of and surrounding the Tarahumara tribe of Northern Mexico, and it's due for release in just two weeks.

Mulaka is certainly a striking looking game. Relatively low-poly models and minimalist texturing give it an old-school look in screenshots that becomes something else entirely once you see it in motion, as the chunky character models spin and leap and dive. There are a lot of interesting stylistic choices, such as the way the characters move and carry themselves - everything feels slightly different here, appropriate, given their attempts to capture the feel of exploring another culture, seeing the world through their eyes.

In Mulaka, you play as a young Sukurúame - a sort of Tarahumara shaman or warlock figure, wandering the land and fighting evil spirits and monsters of local legend such as the Ganoko, Rusíwari and Sipabuara. The fact that I have absolutely no idea what any of those are just makes me more excited. Along the way you'll commune with the gods of the region, and learn how to transform into other forms, such as a bird, giving you your usual Zelda-like slew of upgrades which should allow access to previously sealed off areas of the map.

The developers are keen to stress that they've worked closely with the modern descendants of the Tarahumara in order to make it as authentic as possible, from capturing the sound of their traditional music and the instruments used, to using their own language to voice the characters and the myths and legends they have to share. A portion of the profits from the game will be donated to preserving the Tarahumara Sierra as well.

Mulaka is out on February 27th, and can be wishlisted on Steam here. We'll hopefully get our hands on this for at least some early impressions by launch day.

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Dominic Tarason