Trek to Yomi, developed by Flying Wild Hog and published by Devolver Digital is an action adventure game featuring stunning cinematics and a compelling, enthralling story. It is currently available on Windows PC, PlayStation, and Xbox, and for the purpose of my review, I was playing the Windows PC version.
Hiroki, a young samurai in training, vows to his dying master that he will protect his town and the people he knows and loves against any threat that pops up. When his life is faced with tragedy, Hiroki is bound by duty to venture out as a lone samurai on an epic journey where he must confront death head-on. Trek to Yomi is an homage to the old school black and white samurai movies and the inspiration throughout is very apparent and maintains a simplistic yet aesthetically pleasing perspective throughout.
First and foremost, the most impressive thing about Trek to Yomi is its ability to tell a story not just through dialogue and cutscenes, but the environment speaks even greater volumes and conveys just as much of the story as the cutscenes and dialogue do. As previously mentioned, Trek to Yomi is a massive nod to the early 20th century samurai movies that were in black and white and throughout the game the artistry on show is excellent throughout. The game is mostly played in a side scroller style and is mostly linear, however, there is just so much packed into each scene. I felt immersed in the whole environment and the difference in perspective - the monochrome effect just felt very refreshing to me because it's not something that I’ve encountered often. This film grain effect gives the game an authentic, dated kind of feel, and there were also many nods to cultural traditions and religious practices that were all seem to be historically accurate. Overall, visually, and environmentally there was so much attention to detail, and I really appreciated the meticulous adaptation and crossover between video game and pure movie magic.
The gameplay itself is simple, despite providing a good challenge. The combat doesn’t demand a huge amount from the player. Alongside your basic attacks and roll that you can do, you can also throw kunai at enemies, although these are limited. There is also a parry function that allows you to do more damage, but these can be quite difficult to time correctly, although not as difficult as other games to hit parries such as the Dark Souls games. There are also abilities that you can choose to upgrade as you progress, which allow you to do new combos and such. Aside from this, the combat does begin to feel a little bit repetitive over the course of the game, which is a shame. In a world filled with games that have masses of mechanics and overly complex systems, it was, however, quite refreshing to go back to basics, because games didn't always involve massive skill trees, so I think that the combat simplicity might have been intentional. There are also additional difficulty settings, with the hardest difficulty turning the game into a no-hit run, so for anyone looking for a challenge, I’m sure that will provide it for you.
I really enjoyed Trek to Yomi, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. The journey was captivating, the environment was stunning, and it really felt like a unique experience. Yes, the combat was simplistic and not terribly demanding, but that in itself felt authentic and felt intentional rather than lazy. Furthermore, it isn’t a terribly long game either, so it's one that you could sink a few hours into over the weekend and complete and have had a great time throughout. For me, the star of the show is definitely the storyline and narrative, and this was backed up and supported to a great extent by the stunning black and white aesthetic, that really transports you back to a different time.
Lj’s Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
For more information on Trek to Yomi please use the following links...
Many thanks to Indigo Pearl for the Review Key.