Lula stands inside a room.
Lula 3D is an adventure game where the player controls Lula, an actress who must save her kidnapped co-stars to shoot her next movie. She can be turned using the mouse and moved using thekeyboard from a third person perspective, although attempting to move and turn at the same time can sometimes lead the game to crash. The player interacts with the environment by clicking on people and objects in the environment. Lula encounters puzzles throughout the game, and in order to progress through the game's storyline, the player must complete them.
The solutions to the puzzles often have a strange theme; in one puzzle, Lula flashes her dressing accessories to distract a clerk instead of using a more standardized adventure gaming device. The game does not allow the player to progress through the story until they have talked with all characters and clicked on all objects in an area. Lula is often required to perform appropriate acts in order to interact with characters and advance. The viewer is sometimes required to watch cut-scenes. The scenes sometimes lack detail and during one particular scene, the male hair is missing altogether.
The Lula series was originally developed by German company cdv Software Entertainment in response to the lack of mainstream Western adult video games. The series attempted to remove the censorship commonly found in American erotic games, such as theLeisure Suit Larry video game series. The game's voice acting was originally in German, but was translated for international versions of the game with different voice actors. The developers used motion capture for both action and erotic scenes. The game advertises its "Bouncin' Boobs Technology" on its cover, and it used motion capture to create the effect.
Lula 3D received mostly negative reviews from critics for its technical issues and flat humor; critics also panned the game's reported "Bouncin' Boobs Technology" as being unrealistic and childish for a mature game. The game received a 28% and a 24.60% from review aggregate websites Metacritic and GameRankings respectively.
Eurogamer's Ellie Gibson gave the game a 2 out of 10, believing that its low quality and childish humour made Lula 3D feel like an "erotic" adventure for 12 year-old boys, "developed by a 12 year old boy, on a 12 year old PC, at least 12 years ago. Nor does it warn that every minute spent attempting to play the game will make you feel like you've just lost 12 years of your life, and leave you wishing that you had some kind of mind bulimia so you could sick it all up and start again." In particular, she criticized its sub-par translations, poor sound design, and mediocre graphical quality. PC Zone considered Lula 3D to be "oddly compelling" for its quality, comparing it to "all ten minutes of Michelle from Big Brother decked out in cheap purple underwear staring slackjawed into the camera on the midnight freeview on Television X." In response to the aforementioned "Bouncin' Boobs Technology", the reviewer felt that "if Lula's bright pink assets bounce realistically, then I've clearly been talking to the wrong kind of girls for the entirety of my life. (Or at least the more recent bits of my life, in which I've been talking to girls.)" In conclusion, Lula 3D was given a 3.1 out of 10, and was described as being "so inexorably, mindbogglingly ignorant of how either real games or real sex works that it spread-eagles itself a fair way into the 'so-bad-it's good' category."
Just Adventure's Randy Sluganski felt that though the game should be praised for not compromising its adult content, it held too many technical glitches and mediocre action sequences to be truly enjoyable. Total Video Games's critic Chris Leyton defined the game as "one of the worst titles in recent years". Jolt Online Gaming gave Lula 3D a 1.8 out of 10 for making "every mistake that can possibly be made by the designers of a 3D adventure", criticizing its poorly implemented controls and camera, tedious gameplay involving "mooching around listening to Lula’s terribly voiced and poorly translated descriptions of everything around you, while collecting everything you can lay your hands on", and voice actors whose quality were compared to rejected phone sex operator auditionees. In conclusion, Jolt felt that "if you like good games, Lula 3D isn’t for you. If you like sexual humour, Lula 3D isn’t for you. If you have no qualms about pulling yourself off at the sight of dreadfully rendered computer characters shagging, then you need to check yourself in at your local therapy centre."
In 2013, Polygon cited Lula 3D and other "low-brow" pornographic games as a factor in the mainstream video game industry's general non-acceptance of adult video games.