Platform Played: PlayStation 5
Available On: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, Xbox Game Pass, and PC
Developer: Flying Wild Hog and Leonard Menchiari
Publisher: Devolver Digital
MSRP: $19.99

Release Date: May 5, 2022

Developed by Flying Wild Hog Rzeszów and Leonard Menchiari, Trek To Yomi is an action game that is inspired by Japanese cinema of the 50s and 60s. The title is published by Devolver Digital and when it was first announced, it floored me. I love playing indie games because of the creativity they have compared to boring cookie-cutter style games that a lot of AAA studios produce. This game is different than a lot of games I played recently for a few different reasons. Sometimes smaller games shine brighter than AAA titles. Does Trek to Yomi do this, or does it miss the mark? Let’s get into the review and find out, shall we?

Trek To Yomi is a story that is complex in some regards and simple to understand in others. At the beginning of the game Hiroki, that is the main character, is training with his sensei and adopted father Sanjuro. Suddenly, bandits attack the town and you must go to your sensei’s side and help him, even though you are still very young. When you meet up with your sensei, you also meet the antagonist of the game, Kagerou. This scene could be expected if you have played games before. Hiroki knows what he must do with the help of Aiko, Sanjuro’s daughter, after this scene occurs in Chapter 1. The story then has you venture out to a nearby area but you come to find out that this was a ploy.

After you find out this was a ploy, you are then hurt and must travel to the land of Yomi. Once you are there, you must choose one of the three paths available to take in order to continue with the game. Take your time choosing the path and stay on that path for the remainder of the game; at least that’s what I did. Throughout the adventure, you have to face your past and realize the reality of the consequences of the choices you’ve made. Overall, the story and character progression throughout the title is really quite good and kept me engaged throughout the entire 5-hour adventure.

Beginning of the Game. Captured on PS5.

So the story is good and keeps you engaged, but what I normally consider the king of any game is the gameplay. Trek To Yomi is an Action-Adventure game that has a few different parts to its gameplay. There are a total of 7 linear chapters where you must go from the beginning to the end where you have to take down a boss. There isn’t much exploration, but I didn’t expect there to be much in the game from the way it looked. The setup of Point A to Point B is pretty common throughout games so this wasn’t that inspiring. Saying this though, there are lots of different things to do in each of the chapters.

The main chunk of the gameplay is the combat. Now; in all honesty, I think the combat is good in the game, but it is not anything revolutionary. You have a heavy attack, a light attack, a ranged attack, a roll, a sprint, rotate, a block/parry, and a finisher. You gain more combos and more moves later on as you play through the game. The PS5 version that I played had adaptive triggers for the ranged attack which I thought was a nice feature to have included. Again, it’s not revolutionary combat, but the 2D combat is inspired by silent movies and I think the combat is very solid throughout the game and is well done.

There are normal enemies, stronger brute style enemies, and ranged enemies as the main ones you will see in the chapter. Sometimes you will have close to 4+ enemies on the screen trying to get you at once and sometimes it’s tricky to clear them all before they kill you. I played on the normal difficulty and though most of the bosses didn’t give me any real trouble, when you are ganged up on by normal enemies, I died quite often. Sometimes, one wrong move and there was no way to get out of a situation, which I found annoying in complete honesty. Combat may seem like it is pretty easy and basic but it really is not.

Before a Basic Battle. Captured on PS5.

Now, I said the normal enemies were the ones that gave me the most trouble in my playthrough but what about the bosses? The bosses were easier because they didn’t have a huge amount of enemies all coming at you at once, but they were definitely still tricky and I will say I died to some of them more than once. After you figure out their pattern they really are not too bad; however, the final boss is a real pain even after figuring out the patterns, but I won’t say why that is. There are other parts of combat but I don’t think I want to spoil them as they are cool to see. Combat overall was challenging and rewarding after beating an area, but what about other things besides combat in the game.

One of the Bosses. Captured on PS5.

In the game, you will most likely die a lot. Checkpoints come in the form of shrines which saves your progress and also restores your health. These are pretty common so you won’t lose much progress. There are collectibles to grab that either help you gain abilities, increase your stamina or health, or artifacts that showcase Japanese history which I thought was cool. There are also ranged weapons to increase your stock as the ranged weapons are limited in the game, so resource management is important here. In the later levels, there are simple puzzles that I thought added a nice variety to the mix. All in all, the gameplay is good and it works for what the length of the game is. However, if the game was longer, not sure if I would still feel like it was good enough.

Captured on PS5.

Okay, now to talk about the visuals, voice acting, audio design, and all that fun stuff. First of all, I’ll start with the visuals and performance. I played the PS5 version and the only problem I had was in the final boss where the game hard crashed on me. It wasn’t a big issue as it was the only crash in the whole game, but it definitely made me upset a little bit. The performance was nice and solid and couldn’t really see any slow down. The game was crisp with the visuals too. Despite the game being in black and white, everything worked out great because of all the lighting effects and the way in which the camera angles were set up made it look and feel like old school Japanese cinema; which was their inspiration. The visuals pop nicely and it definitely does justice to the classics.

Entrance to What? Captured on PS5.

The voice acting was extremely solid and I had no issues with it. The characters matched the voice actors that were chosen really well. I will say this though, the inspiration from Japanese cinema comes through loud and clear here since the game is only in Japanese audio with english subtitles. I loved this as it gave the immersion into the title even more than it did with the art style. The audio design is also reminiscent of the old school days as there are music and sound effects throughout, but there isn’t anything that overpowers the game to make it feel like that of a classic film.

I don’t think there is a game that I have played in a long time that has the same influence and that makes this game truly special. The combat is fairly simplistic but the fact that it works so well for what they are trying to achieve makes it fun. The levels are linear but I didn’t expect big open 3D sections to explore. The music, voice acting, visuals, and everything about the game gives off the feel of what they were hoping for in terms of the inspiration of classic Japanese cinema.

I highly recommend this game to anyone who likes to experience something that you may not find anywhere else in terms of the impactful presentation and passion that these developers seem to have for this project! I will say this, even though a review code was provided to us for this review, I will definitely be picking up a physical through Special Reserve Games for sure. The game is really good and I highly recommend supporting it!

Captured on PS5.

A review copy was provided by Devolver Digital for this review.

Leave a Reply