Our Score: 8/10
Hiroki, a teenage swordsman, swears to protect his town and the people he loves from any threats as a vow to his dying Master. Faced with tragedy and a sense of obligation, the lone samurai must go beyond life and death to confront himself and pick his future course. Welcome to Trek to Yomi
Trek to Yomi tells the tale of Hiroki, a samurai whose sensei is assassinated. Years later, history repeats itself, as Hiroki’s hamlet is invaded by bandits once more, but this time he’ll have to go beyond just learning to murder to fulfill his destiny.
Six brief chapters make up the storyline. It begins with a fairly standard story. A samurai is beholden to his dying wish after losing his master. It felt like a narrative you’ve watched already. At the conclusion of a particular chapter, the game takes a surprising turn. Things started to become more strange and unpredictable. Part of this was due to the game’s inclusion of a few player choices that appear to impact the conclusion. Seemingly, the game has different endings. Despite the slow start and somewhat generic story, I was just as invested in the story as the rest of the game by the end.
Way of the Samurai
Trek to Yomi is an absolute blast to play from start to finish. A 2.5D side scroller with fighting, exploration, and a dash of puzzle-solving. Combat begins with light/heavy attacks, blocking, and parrying. As you progress through the game, this system develops into a system that can be both tough and rewarding. This is accomplished by unlocking combos that allow you to stun adversaries, heal with finishers, and more. There’s nothing quite like stunning and dispatching many enemies without being hit. You also have access to a variety of ranged weapons, such as a Bow or a cannon. These are very useful on higher difficulties and during boss encounters.
Undeniably, Trek to Yomi was a game that I thoroughly enjoyed. It does not shine right away, but its pacing is great. When it comes to broadening the gameplay, this game is spot on. It always felt like I was discovering a new combo or health upgrade at the perfect time. Providing me with a puzzle break whenever I needed it. The gameplay’s tempo has been masterfully created and refined. All of this made me want to go back and look for everything I had missed.
In the Grey Area of Trek To Yomi
Trek to Yomi is more accurately described as a collection of vintage postwar Samurai films. Yes, the entire game is presented in black and white with a lot of film grain. Trek to Yomi is more than just a filter; it takes great attention with shadow, contrast, and framing.
Furthermore, anyone who has seen an Akira Kurosawa film will recognise the game’s presenting style right away. From the black and white images with film grain to the almost metallic rusty-like audio, everything about this film is striking. Trek to Yomi’s presentation screams that it was made by Kurosawa fans and admirers. When you combine these Kurosawa influences with the game’s fixed camera style, you get something truly unique in the video game world. Something you won’t find anywhere else.
Additionally, the camera work, in combination with the score and other audio aspects, gives the moments a lot of emotion. In a good way, it feels like it was plucked from a Kurosawa classic. It’s as though I’m in the middle of a movie. From the Japanese voice acting to the sound of clashing katanas, the audio enhances the experience. Everything seemed to be designed to be a Kurosawa experience.
Trek To Yomi: The Final Verdict
Trek to Yomi is a cinematic samurai experience that fills in a very specific void in the world of videogames and manages to do it well. Its Kurosawa inspiration is bold and loud, and the gameplay manages to keep you engaged. There are a few confusing moments when exploring and traversing the world because of the black and white filter but it wasn’t too much of a bother. If you’ve played the Ghost of Tsushima and are looking for a Samurai game to feel that similar void, look no further than this game.