Genre: Action Adventure
Developed by: Flying Wild Hog and Leonard Menchiari
Published by: Devolver Digital
Expected release: 2022
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Microsoft Windows and Xbox One
Platform I played on: Microsoft Windows
I'll just get right to it; Trek to Yomi is incredible already from what I was able to play, which was around 45-50 minutes. It has amazing backdrops which is enhanced by the different camera angles, and if I had to guess, is a love letter to Akira Kurosawa films; including Seven Samurai and Rashomon. The black and white palette adds to that genre aesthetic, while delivering a game that has rich cinematic storytelling. So, what else made this demo stand out? Let's dive into the review;
The story follows young Hiroki, and his journey in keeping an oath to his dying master; vowing to protect his town and the people he loves from the forces of evil. While the death of a master and drawing upon themes of loss, good vs evil and honour isn't new, this game is something I haven't played before. As a former film student, I watched and studied this genre, but up until now I realise I haven't played anything quite like Trek to Yomi. There isn't much else I can say right now about the story, so we'll jump right ahead to the gameplay.
As I played on PC, I used my Xbox One controller which played smoothly and had no issues with. To start off with, the game gives you three difficulty options to choose from; Kabuki, Bushido or Ronin. I tried each difficulty, and there is quite a noticeable difference right away. The Kabuki difficulty is for players looking to just enjoy the story with minimal combat difficulty. You'll still need to time your dodge and swings at an enemy, but other than that it's a fairly laid back experience. Bushido difficulty is a mix of story and sword, with an equal amount of combat difficulty. Your sword swishes and actions are a little bit quicker as opposed to the Kabuki difficulty, but it seems like a fairly good in-between for players looking to enjoy the story with some challenge. The last difficulty is the hardest one, Ronin, which is for players looking for a challenge. Your sword swishes and actions are even faster, and enemies are even quicker. While this difficulty isn't for me personally (I prefer a blend of story and combat) I can see how for some players, this will be a great challenge. I was glad to see these difficulty options cater to different types of players which is awesome.
As for the controls, for the most part it's simple to remember and use. However, in heavier intense combat situations, it may take a little adjustment to get used to, at least for me. For example, the main thing for me was having to press A and the stick left or right to turn around. I found myself a few times forgetting to press A while using the left stick to turn around. Of course it comes with practice and adjusting to new controls; but for me that was what stood out to me so far. There are also rewards for exploration; so if you're looking to grab collectibles and see everything there is to see in this world, explore your surroundings.
You can also check out my video below of the differences in difficulty and the hits you can take.
As well as another video showcasing some cinematic cutscenes, some gameplay and incredible backdrops below.
Soundtrack A well crafted soundtrack with the use of woodwind and percussion instruments that fits into that era of feudal Japan, while maintaining the aesthetic of the game's atmosphere. The sound design as well doesn't go unnoticed, it too is well crafted especially with the sound of the swords hitting your enemies, the sound of the crackling fire and the rain pouring down as you jab your sword into an enemy on a rooftop.
Graphics/Design I had no issues with the graphics, and I didn't need to adjust anything, nor was it choppy on my end. The overall design of the game's aesthetic is absolutely spot on with the game's genre and story. I have nothing but positive feedback for this section.
Overall That's all I can really say for right now with the short time I spent with this demo! Overall, I was very impressed with what I played, heard and saw and I'm sure this game has high potential to pop up in a category or two at The Game Awards. As of right now from what I played it's a solid 8/10. When the full game comes out that score may change of course; I only played a small fraction of the game, but that's how impressed I am so far! Until an official launch date is set, we'll just have to keep our swords sheathed.....for now. As always we want to hear from you! What do you think so far? Is this on your list? Let us know!