Developer – Flying Wild Hog
Publisher – Devolver Digital
Platform(s) – Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC
Release Date – May 5, 2022
Disclaimer: Thanks to PR for Providing A Review Copy
There are those games that have trailers that reel you in the mere second you see them. Without a doubt, Trek to Yomi was one of those games for me. From the first trailer, I got a vibe with a mix of Ghost of Tsushima for the setting and Sifu with fast-paced combat. I immediately knew that this was an indie title that I wanted to play for myself.
Trek to Yomi is a 3rd-person samurai action-adventure. The game has a black and white film grain throughout its entirety. It follows your entire journey with a cinematic-style camera that leaves you with some tremendous moments of cinematography.
You play as a line samurai set on a voyage of protecting those he loves and his village to honor his deceased master. The entirety of the game is spoken in Japanese but you can turn on English subtitles if you do, please.
The narrative is fine, it’s nothing that I think you’ll look back in high regard but that wasn’t one of the reasons I wanted to play this game. The atmosphere, visuals, and my initial impressions of the combat from the trailer were the reasons I wanted to play Trek to Yomi.
The game can technically be classified as a side-scroller, but the camera does shift perspectives regularly. Visually, Trek to Yomi is stunning in every aspect. The production of this game is especially impressive considering the size of the team and scope.
Environmental design is something that I took a big note of while playing. You’ll go into these villages with fire, burnt-down houses, and hanging corpses. For the time frame and tone that the devs were going for, they succeeded.
Trek to Yomi does right in its visuals, sound design, environments, and atmosphere. With all that in mind, it’s a shame that one of the most important aspects of the game in regards to its combat doesn’t hold up to the rest of the game. I don’t hate the combat but it simply doesn’t feel right and could’ve been improved on quite a bit.
Sword combat is something I was incredibly pleased with in Ghost of Tsuhima. I obviously won’t compare Trek to Yomi on that scale considering the much large scale of Ghost. Still, it was clear to me in the tutorial that something was off with the combat. It feels floaty and input can feel inconsistent at times when parrying. It’s especially upsetting considering the combat was an aspect I was looking forward to when I first saw this game a few months back.
I played Trek to Yomi on PlayStation 5, your main attacks are light attacks with square and heavy attacks with triangle. You can use the directional pad to use additional weapons such as a bow and arrow. The controller layout is fine for the most part, aside from a weird decision to rotate your character. to rotate your character instead of using the directional stick you have to press X. This choice can make combat feel clunky and frustrating.
I feel a lot of problems I had with the control scheme could’ve been fixed if they had added the option to remap your controls. For example, take a game like Sifu, a few default button choices didn’t sit well with me and I’m glad that Sloclap gave me the option to change controls if I wanted.
I do like how Trek to Yomi handles upgrades and collectible systems. Going down a different pathway leads to upgrades that increase your ammo capacity, stamina, and health. You’ll even find neat little collectibles that offer some nice lore. I appreciate that the game rewards you with exploring areas that may contain extra enemies.
Not only can you find extra upgrades, but you’ll also find extra ways to kill enemies. I was in a mineshaft type of area that had two ways to kill the bandits inside. I could’ve faced them head-on with my sword and killed each one individually. Instead, there was an entrance that led to a pathway above the bandits. I found a crank that held up a large wooden platform with stones and proceeded to drop it on the group of 6 or 7 bandits. In short, if I were you I would explore thoroughly.
It’s a shame that a game with such quality production in so many different ways is lacking in its most important facet. I think the devs did well in terms of presentation and capturing the atmosphere. Though, at the end of the day, how the game plays trumps anything else in my opinion, and in this aspect Trek to Yomi doesn’t reach the standards I thought it would initially.
Rating - 7/10