It cannot be understated how much Trek to Yomi feels like playing an Akira Kurosawa film, and this is probably the biggest compliment I can give to the side-scrolling, 2.5D hack and slash game. Developed by Flying Wild Hog and released on numerous consoles in May of last year, the developers have ported the game across to the Switch, a console the game is made for.
Taking control of the honourable Hiroki during the Edo period of Japan, players will spend their time defending towns, repelling bandits and invaders, and attempting to save his friends and neighbours from threats both human and supernatural.
Upon loading up the game, the most striking first impression will be how the game is presented. The monochromatic visual feel heavily inspired by the earlier mentioned director Kurosawa, and more specifically his most infamous film, Seven Samurai. The parallels are there, the visuals, the honourable samurai, the friends and family dying and so on. Those parallels do come to a crashing halt pretty sharply half way through the game however, when supernatural enemies and locations are thrown into the mix.
Related: Marvel’s Midnight Suns Review: Card Battlin’, Superhero Soap Opera (PS5)
Throughout the game’s admittedly brief run time, you’ll find exploration and going off the beaten path worth it and rewarding, both for the collectibles you’ll find that will explain more of the story and history; and the weapons and attack combinations to strengthen and diversify your character. It’s a simple thing to do, but watching Hiroki pull back on a bow’s drawstring and letting loose an arrow never gets old.
Trek to Yomi – A Bridge Too Far?
With the 2.5D presentation comes plenty of side-scrolling, with the environments black-lit by fires, the moon and more, the game looks outstandingly beautiful and really pushes the Switch’s graphical capabilities, and just like the bow and arrow doesn’t grow old, watching your character have a face-off on a bridge doesn’t either. Occasionally the 2.5D nature of the game can hamper progression, with it not always being evident as to where to go with the environments blending together due to the artistic direction.
Trek to Yomi never feels overly punishing, no matter which of the difficulties you choose to play on, as long as you’re aware of the enemies surrounding you and can quickly get to grips with the ebb-and-flow of the combat. Learning when to block and when to attack is imperative to surviving, as is mastering at least a few of the many combos.
Related: SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake Review: Arrr’ Ya Ready Kids? (PS4)
Coming in at just under five hours, Trek to Yomi isn’t a particularly long game, but with that comes the fact that not a single second is wasted. Well-paced, tight and constantly engaging and fun, Trek to Yomi is a love-letter to samurai cinema of old, and the short campaign and consistent gameplay means that on a Switch especially, it’s a perfect game to pick up and play for ten minutes, if that’s all you can spare.
Trek to Yomi was played on a code supplied by Indigo Pearl.
Follow us for more entertainment coverage on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.