Trek to Yomi

Xbox Series X/S, PS5/PS4, Xbox One, PC action

There are only three professions that are universally accepted as being cool: astronaut, pirate and samurai. There are some that might argue that plumber should be added to that list, but that’s simply not acceptable.

All have been staples for video game protagonists over the years, but the latter has made an impressive impact lately with the release of 2020’s open world adventure Ghost of Tsushima for Sony’s PlayStation consoles.

Picking up the samurai sword where that game left off is this impressive indie title Trek to Yomi.

boom reviews Trek to Yomi
I told you no fires in the apartment, now you have to pay.

From a young age, Hiroki has been trained in the art of the samurai. He owes everything to his master, so when he faces death, Hiroki swears to protect his town and its community.

His skills come into play when the town is pretty much destroyed, and the young samurai, now full of grief and hatred, vows revenge on all those who have done his people wrong. It’s a lonely task, but one Hiroki holds true, as he seeks to confront and defeat those who have destroyed his world.

boom reviews - Trek to Yomi
Listen, you said it was 30 Euros for a gondala ride. So we settle this like gentlemen...

Although Trek to Yomi is similar to Ghost of Tsushima in that both feature a samurai as a main protagonist, they are two very different games. A major factor to this is the difference in budget; Sony’s game is an expensive AAA title with a huge budget behind it, whereas this is produced on a smaller scale in every way imaginable. But it doesn’t stop it from being a truly remarkable experience.

No doubt the first element that will strike you will be the game’s visuals. To say the game is in black and white is an understatement; it’s presented like a classic film, so much so that it could easily be seen as a spin-off from legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 Seven Samurai, entitled The Solo Samurai. Its colourless palette is rich and full of depth, and greatly adds to the already incredible atmosphere present.

Certainly the fact that the game features Japanese dialogue with English subtitles enhances the world cinema effect.

Although it could be described as a 2D side scroller, there’s more to it than that. For the most part your character does indeed traverse left and right, but the developers Flying Wild Hog were keen for players to be able to explore more of the space available. For instance, there are times when Hiroki moves in a 3D space, back and forth into the screen, as well as climbing ladders to other areas that can also be explored in 3D. It’s a good idea to explore, as there are useful items that can be picked up in doing so.

Also, as the game progresses, your character is able to unlock further abilities, and use other weapons other than his sword such as bo-shuriken, bow and arrows and a gun of some description, all of which he will need to use as he his confronted by a myriad of enemies.

The world is jaw-droppingly beautiful, as you wander through such a cinematic world, driven by a compelling narrative. It could be said that the combat gets somewhat competitive, with a number of combos that you learn the patterns that the enemies use when fighting, but the fact is, is that it’s varied enough to not become tiresome.

Perhaps the only criticism that can be levelled at it fairly is the fact it’s difficult to play in a fairly bright room; a lot of the detail is lost, and we found ourselves squinting more often than not, leading to us to either play in the evening or to draw a curtain. Certainly the game’s visuals deserve to be seen in the best light possible, as it were.

Trek to Yomi then could possibly be the closest thing to controlling the star of a film, with a strongly driven narrative, that is both intriguing and mysterious, and a visual style that has cultural film authenticity the likes of which that the master Kurosawa would no doubt be proud.

A genuine gaming masterpiece.

we give this five out of five