Tragedy can be utilized as a source to muster up and build inner strength and resilience. For our protagonist Hiroki, the unfortunate reality of his life is that he is forced into continuous fighting–not only to save himself but save those around him. In Trek to Yomi, we get an extensive look at what this lone samurai must suffer through and succumb to try and decide his fate.
Trek to Yomi is a side-scrolling action-adventure title full of emotion and combat. Taking heavy inspiration from 50’s Japanese cinema and the feudal Japan era, we experience the calamities that Hiroki faces in his life. It doesn’t take long for the tone to shift into something gruesome and severe. Within moments, your hometown is being taken over by vicious bandits who cause utter chaos and bedlam. Establishments are being burnt to a crisp, people are losing their loved ones, and there doesn’t seem to be any hope in sight. These moments can be quite intense as you hear the loud cries of despair from mourning townsfolk.
As a young samurai in training, you aim to help fight off these bandits and save your town. It is here that you experience your combat and gameplay. You’ll be engaging various types of bandits with a streamlined combat system that heavily relies on your sword. The combat itself feels amazing and methodical.
It’s not a simple hack-and-slash type of fight; you have to consider your enemy’s movements and attack patterns carefully to defeat them. Much of the combat relies on combos and techniques. You must be precise with the timing of your deflections, dodges, and attacks. Otherwise, it’s very easy to lose your life. You acquire more combinations and techniques throughout your playthrough, giving you a wider variety of approaches to your fighting style.
Though Trek to Yomi is a linear side-scroller, the dynamic cinematography and the incentives to explore keep the momentum flowing. Some camera angles are quite impressive and provide the scenery with a cinematic experience. In addition, some areas have alternate paths that lead to fruitful discoveries, such as collectibles or upgrades. These collectibles show and tell off authentic ancient Japanese folklore, setting the scene beautifully. On the other hand, the upgrades aid you with the gameplay, adding advantages like additional health or stamina.
As you progress, there are constant references being made to the world of darkness and death. Given that “Yomi” is the Japanese word for the underworld, it’s likely to assume there’s more evil to the world than what exists in the mortal realm. Yet, there is a clear showcase of just how dark society can be, going so far as to destroy families and livelihoods.
The presentation of Trek to Yomi is both beautiful and dismal. The black-and-white aesthetic enhances the grim nature of the unfolding events. In fact, the lighting and shadows in certain scenes add a dramatic flair, showing a stark contrast between hope and loss. There’s no doubt that this game will pack a punch and deliver a memorable and engaging experience.
Trek to Yomi is set to release this Spring for the PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.
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