Trek to Yomi is a recreation that immediately calls for your consideration. Right from the very first second, its beautiful graphics and Akira Kurosawa-inspired aesthetic lend it a visible id that feels in contrast to virtually anything you’ll see in every other recreation (maybe with the exception of Ghost of Tsushima’s Kurosawa Mode). Until the credit roll, that’s one thing that by no means loses its luster- which is nice, as a result of from a gameplay perspective, Flying Wild Hog’s 2.5D action-adventure recreation is a reasonably simplistic and forgettable expertise. Taking the good with the dangerous – or, extra precisely on this case, the nice with the pretty forgettable – this can be a stable recreation that’s simply as succesful of taking your breath away as it’s of irritating you with some sloppy gameplay points and bland design decisions.
Trek to Yomi sees you enjoying as Hiroki, a younger samurai who’s tasked by his dying grasp with defending his village and its folks from bloodthirsty bandits. It’s a recreation that, appropriately sufficient, is singularly targeted on and devoted to its Japanese aesthetic, bringing its Edo-period setting to like fantastically with all the things from its music and voice appearing to the environments you end up transferring by.
Hiroki is a stable protagonist, and watching his development from the younger apprentice you see him as in the recreation’s introduction to the fierce samurai he turns into is a satisfying arc, particularly as you see him making an attempt to give all the things he has to stand by his useless grasp’s remaining needs to shield the village, in addition to his daughter Aiko. Meanwhile, what begins out as a seemingly simple interval Japanese setting slowly launched fantastical components of Shinto mythology, and the recreation slowly fuses these two components collectively for what seems to be fairly a fascinating story, even when it by no means jumps out as way more than that.
“Taking the good with the dangerous – or, extra precisely on this case, the nice with the pretty forgettable – this can be a stable recreation that’s simply as succesful of taking your breath away as it’s of irritating you with some sloppy gameplay points and bland design decisions.”
What does stand out as actually distinctive is, of course, what the recreation appears to be like like. Trek to Yomi is a very black and white recreation, which is a transparent try at replicating the immediately recognizable aesthetic made well-known by legendary Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa in his samurai masterpieces. Thankfully, the recreation understands that it’s not simply the color pallet that makes up that visible aesthetic, and displays visible aptitude and stylistic persona in different areas as nicely.
Wind, hearth, and rain, for example, are used to nice impact, whereas the manner every shot is framed feels extremely deliberate and meticulous. Walking over rooftops of burning buildings whereas lightning streaks throughout the sky in the background, clashing swords with a bandit on a bridge whereas a river rushes under you, going through off towards a foe in a clearing together with your silhouettes contrasted towards a vibrant backdrop- it looks like the recreation is continually transferring from one completely thought out display to the subsequent. The visible composition and framing of every new scene Trek to Yomi reveals you can’t be praised sufficient, and wanting to see the subsequent beautiful sight in and of itself was greater than sufficient to maintain me hungry and motivated to maintain transferring ahead. Trek to Yomi is a recreation with an extremely distinctive visible id, one which does justice to its thrilling premise in each manner potential.
It’s good that the recreation is as completely profitable in that space as it’s, as a result of truly enjoying by it isn’t practically as enjoyable. Don’t get me unsuitable, Trek to Yomi’s gameplay isn’t dangerous by any means- however the place the cinematicism, visuals, and presentation of the recreation are second to none, on the gameplay entrance, it’s pretty middling and forgettable- serviceable and passingly enjoyable at finest, sloppy and monotonous at worst. And nowhere is that disparity as abundantly obvious as it’s in the recreation’s fight.
“The visible composition and framing of every new scene Trek to Yomi reveals you can’t be praised sufficient.”
That’s the space the place Trek to Yomi disenchanted me the most. I went in anticipating a decent fight system that will emphasize precision, persistence, and agility. On paper, that’s what it makes an attempt to do, however it finally ends up fumbling at instances in execution. From mild assaults and heavy assaults to blocks and parries, Trek to Yomi provides you all the instruments you’d count on of a samurai recreation, whereas over time, your moveset and arsenal additionally develop little by little. You study new strikes, new strategies and combos, and likewise choose up a pair of weapons alongside the manner, similar to a bow and shurikens.
Unfortunately, nevertheless, I very hardly ever felt like the recreation inspired me to make full use of all the things I had at my disposal. More typically than not, I discovered all of it too straightforward to button mash my manner by enemies, which is disappointing for a recreation that claims it needs you to be exact and deadly together with your assaults. There are a instances when the recreation throws particular enemy sorts at you or places you in the center of situations the place you’re inspired to use particular strikes or weapons, however such conditions was far much less widespread than I’d have liked- particularly when put next to the seemingly continuous barrage of grunts who required little or no ability and thought on my half.
Meanwhile, attacking, blocking, and parrying by no means fairly really feel as tight and responsive as I’d have wished them to. Parries specifically felt sloppy, and really hardly ever did I really feel like I may depend on the recreation to act in a constantly readable method when it got here to having the ability to time blocks and parries successfully. Turning round throughout fight to face the other way additionally tends to really feel just a little unresponsive and sloppy, which may be notably annoying when you end up surrounded by charging enemies on each side. Executions, at the very least, are brutal to watch and enjoyable to pull off, however even exterior of that, assaults by no means fairly land with the oomph that you’d need them to.
“Where the cinematicism, visuals, and presentation of the recreation are second to none, on the gameplay entrance, it’s pretty middling and forgettable- serviceable and passingly enjoyable at finest, sloppy and monotonous at worst.”
Outside of fight, laser-focused as it’s on delivering a cinematic expertise, it make sense that Trek to Yomi is a reasonably simple enjoying expertise, and inside that framework, it does its job nicely sufficient. When you’re not in fight, you often get the likelihood to discover non-obligatory areas, rooms, and screens, which may web you with numerous sorts of discoveries, together with new assaults, collectibles, or well being and stamina upgrades. Exploration isn’t too deep or expansive, however what’s there may be sufficient to encourage you to undergo your environment at your individual tempo and see what’s on supply exterior of the vital path. Meanwhile, Trek to Yomi additionally has a number of endings, together with a one-hit one-kill mode that’s unlocked upon ending the recreation, which signifies that regardless that it shouldn’t take you greater than 4-5 hours to get by the story, there’s a good quantity of content material right here to maintain you occupied for just a little longer.
How a lot you take pleasure in Trek to Yomi will rely largely on how a lot you care about its visuals and its presentation. If you’re getting in purely for its design or gameplay, you’ll doubtless discover the expertise underwhelming for the most half. However, the recreation appears to be like so unbelievable good from starting to finish that even should you don’t ordinarily care about that stuff in video games, it’ll be onerous not to be impressed by what’s on supply right here. For that purpose alone, I’d say this can be a recreation nicely price playing- as a result of even when there are some caveats to that, there’s no denying that one thing this distinctive and beautiful wants to be skilled.
This recreation was reviewed on the Xbox Series X.