Trek To Yomi revolves around a former student of a Samurai master, named Hiroki, who must protect his small village at all costs. However, when he leaves for the sake of vengeance, his whole world turns upside down. The narrative in Trek To Yomi is easily its greatest strength! Watching Hiroki battle with the pain of his past decisions, and attempt to rekindle what was lost is fascinating. Through the use of dialogue choices, the game gives you control of what Hiroki decides as his destiny. This can lead to some really intriguing moments throughout this 6 hour experience. The story also manages to emulate a similar style to the older black & white Samurai films such as Yojimbo and The Hidden Fortress, taking some interesting twists and turns along the way.
Trek to Yomi’s Combat Is Definitely… Interesting…
On the other hand, the gameplay mechanics whilst initially being fairly interesting, do feel quite stiff! This is especially noticeable in the various boss encounters! Opting for a side scrolling approach to the combat and a 3D style to the open exploration does help to break the game up a little! But unfortunately, this is where the problems start to show through.
Trek To Yomi suffers from being overly repetitive! As most of the enemies you face can be defeated in the exact same manner. With the aforementioned stiff controls, this meant that some of the extended combat sections became quite tedious. For example, to do a proper combo attack, you have to stop moving to deliver quicker strikes. This is because if you continue to move forward toward an enemy whilst attacking, Hiroki will instead attempt a slow thrust which constantly leads to you being open to your opponent’s strikes. This may not sound like a big issue, until you start facing enemies that are constantly backing off from you. It really does make some of these encounters infuriating, especially when you are facing off against more than one opponent.
Trek to Yomi’s Level Design
The exploration portions of this game weren’t too expansive either. Despite having many optional paths to take throughout the various levels, most would just lead you to a side room which would have a collectible and some ammunition. Being that there is plenty of ammunition along the main path anyway, this makes these side paths really only worth it if you want to get all the collectibles. But the collectibles don’t feel very rewarding to find eithr, as they are almost always plain sight! They even flash white to show you exactly where they are! This really takes the thrill out of collectible hunting.
Trek to Yomi will occasionally impede your path by presenting you with a puzzle in order to continue. Whilst this may seem great in concept, as it could help to break up the exploration sections, it is anything but! Instead, the game displays a few written characters on the screen in one environment, and then requires you to choose the correct three characters you just saw on a dial to continue. These puzzles do not add any challenge or intrigue. Instead, they just end up becoming a frustrating setback.
The Beautiful Aesthetics
Another big high point in Trek To Yomi is its visual design. As previously mentioned, the black & white aesthetic blended together with a film grain (which can be toggled on or off) really gives off those 1950s Samurai film vibes! The character designs are also absolutely stunning! They are much more detailed than expected, which was honestly a little surprising given the style of game! Also, the level of detail in each environment is so rich. The devs have really done well to present this title in such a way that I wanted to press on a little while longer despite my issues with the gameplay, just to see more!
Trek to Yomi is a really mixed bag! It has great narrative as well as an excellent and very detailed visual design that is eye-catching! However, it falls short in the gameplay department, with some stiff combat mechanics and tedious exploration sections that are really underwhelming! Because of the basic puzzles that become irritating setbacks, and the rinse and repeat combat that feels uninspired, the story just isn’t enough to draw you in, even though it is very intriguing. And this may quickly diminish any desire to see the game through to the end.
By Samuel Incze
Trek To Yomi may have a great narrative and an excellent visual design, however the stiff combat mechanics and tedious exploration sections may quickly diminish any desire to see the game through to the end. Despite having great potential, Trek To Yomi fails to deliver and instead becomes a very lackluster experience!
This game was reviewed using a download code provided by Devolver Digital. The Beta Network uses affiliate partnerships, however, this does not influence reviews or any other content published. The Beta Network may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links that are on the website.