Trek to Yomi is an action adventure game where you play as a samurai named Hiroki. The game flirts between 2D and 3D movement planes. Places where there is combat you enter a 2D plane, rest of the game is done in a 3D plane. In the game you fight for what you believe is right: love, revenge, or duty. This is a trek literally to and through Yomi, and for those who don’t know, Yomi is the land of the dead.
The game starts off with Hiroki as a child practicing the basics of swordsmanship with his master, which is an awesome way of doing your tutorial. During this training bandits attack the town and you go out and kick some grown adult bandit ass as like an 8 year old. You are a fucking killing machine. Then it skips ahead to where Hiroki is an adult, once more bandits are attacking the surrounding villages and you’ve been sent out by head of the town, she’s your partner to boot, to go defend the people because if they die, being farmers and the like, then the town will die cause it won’t have food. So off you go to kill more bandits, that is the name of the game.
The enemies of the game are mostly swordsmen, spears-men, and archers, however, there are some other ones when you’re trekking through the Yomi lands, gunmen who use blunderbusses, magic swordsmen, crazies, and sorcerers. Gunmen are fairly annoying because they can hit you even when you don’t see them on screen and it’s hard to deal with the bullets, so often I was shot a couple times getting up to them to stab the ever unliving fuck out of them. Sorcerers aren’t too bad, they summon other standard enemy units and until you kill those units you can’t hurt the sorcerer, but they’ll forever spawn in enemies until you kill them. Crazies are just axe-wielding nutters who are effectively swordsmen realistically so they’re easy to deal with. But the worst of the worst are the magic swordsmen, they block and teleport around you, both to get close to stab you in the ass, and to get away from your attacks. They’re a massive pain in the ass and my most hated enemy personally. There’s also bosses but I’ll talk about those later.
In combat you’ll probably mostly use your sword, you pick up some ranged stuff as well, but you are a samurai with a sword, you’re going to do some cutting. You learn your basics at the start, you can cut and stab, block, dodge, turn, and counterattack. The best move here is clearly the counterattack, to do it you basically have to perfect block in most other games, though the window is fairly nice in this (note: the difficulty you play on does impact this window), once you’ve do it you can attack immediately and it’s either an outright one hit kill or it nearly kills stronger enemies, though I’m pretty sure it would one hit kill them all, save for bosses. Basically when you do your perfect block it becomes a deflection which staggers the enemy giving you some free hits, but if you attack immediately to make that deflect a counter, you often get a nice kill animation where your character kills the person in one of a few different ways, they’re pretty fantastic.
As I said, you start with the basics, but you can learn more advanced moves by finding scrolls that unlock singular abilities, sometimes they let you make a turn attack without losing stamina or the like. I didn’t use most of these abilities because, honestly they weren’t really needed on the difficulty I played on. Your ranged stuff I used fairly often just cause it was fun to use them, you get daggers which momentarily stop enemy movements and often if you throw two or three will kill an enemy on their own, arrows which can kill most standard enemies in a hit or two, then there’s a gun you get a bit later on which can kill most enemies on the side of the screen you use it in a single hit. You find ammo for them scattered throughout the levels, it’s easy to both stay maxed so you can’t pick them up but also pretty easy to stay empty all the time too. It really depends on your play style.
Now as I previously stated you can pick up scrolls to learn new moves, but that’s only one set of collectibles. You can also find health and stamina upgrades, they’re often in side areas not on the main path, but they aren’t too difficult to find. There’s also a standard type of collectible as well in items you find in each level. These items give lore either about the characters Hiroki knows or more oft than not information about the most prominent and well known Japanese story of Yomi involving the gods dealing with it. They’re really nice reads, I love with Japanese mythos is put into video games, I like reading about yokai and a Kami, I like when it gets out to more people, cause the more people that know this stuff the more I can geek out about it.
There are multiple endings to the game, I think three or four. Which ending you obtain is the result of a choice you make in the game a good chunk of the way through and it’s a pretty obvious choice. There’s an achievement for each ending so that’s nice and easy. There isn’t a chapter select which is an annoyance and there’s also no manual saves, well there are, but there’s only one and it gets saved over via the autosave. As such you can’t just make a choice play through the last bit of the game then load that last save and just get all the ending achievements, no you have to play through the entire eight or so hours of the game each time. That bothers me cause it’s a slog, if you’ve collected everything which I did in my first playthrough, there’s nothing else to do, the enemies don’t change and depending on how your reflexes are you likely won’t play it on a difficulty beyond what you did the first time, might make it easier if you can just to run through it faster, but boss battles tend to mean you want all the different attacks, full ammo, maximized ammo space, max health, and max stamina for what you can get by the time of each boss battle, which means you’re visiting all the hidden places every playthrough, which means you’re probably going to pick up all of the collectibles every single playthrough which is kind of pointless. I think just having a manual save that was JUST a manual save would have solved this problem utterly and completely.
The graphics are all black and white, one hundred percent this is based on old samurai films. It’s beautiful I love it, but also watched a lot of black and white samurai films growing up so I’m completely biased. They do some cool things with the fore and background. Enemy archers might fire on you from the background where you can’t attack them and you have to hide behind things, and those things might start burning until that cover doesn’t exist anymore meaning you have to keep running. Other times you might be in a building and there’s sliding doors in the foreground between the character and the player and you have to fight enemies while only seeing their silhouettes on the doors, that is one of the coolest things the game did. Apparently there is sometimes some serious slowdown, I didn’t notice this personally but I’m legally blind so I wouldn’t. My guess as to why this happens is because there’s a number of places where there’s a lot of fires going on and combat on top of it, that’s where I assume it happens anyways. There’s often a lot happening in the background which is really cool looking but I’m sure it’s also really intensive on the console you play on.
I honestly can’t suggest this enough, it has some issues, namely with saving, but otherwise it’s a beautiful fun game. If you liked samurai stuff growing up this is going to be your jam cause you feel like a fucking badass when you pull of counter attacks just like you see in films. There’s a ton of saves set up as shrines so even if you die you don’t lose a lot of progress. There’s just a lot to love in this game and I can’t sing it’s praises enough, this might for the first time in a while be a Game of the Year for me personally, I usually don’t have one, and haven’t had one in a number of years. I absolutely love this game and I hope this company makes another one similar to this maybe with another myth being told in the background.
A review copy of the game was provided by publisher Devolver Digital.
darkmikasonfire 100% throws the Indie Gamer Seal of Approval at this game.