Trek to Yomi caught many peoples attention due to its interesting take on feudal Japan setting and the cinematic old-school movie look. The game was first showcased over at at the previous State of Play showcase from Sony that happened a few weeks ago back on March 9th. We finally got the chance to get our hands-on experience with the game over the last week. The game consisted of the first 2 chapters of the game which included the intro, tutorial and some early on combat and a bit of exploration. The preview lasted roughly around 45 minutes or so give or take depending on if you took the time to explore every nook or cranny and so on. Here are our first of Trek to Yomi and what we think of it so far.
Very Unique But Repetitive
After playing the first 2 chapters of Trek to Yomi it’s safe to say that the game is indeed very unique and there is not much else quite like it on the market. As a matter of fact, the closest thing that it reminded me of was probably an old indie game called Limbo and that was way back in the PS3 and Xbox 360 era. For those who need some context, it was an indie game that had a very unique black and white art-style throughout its entirety, so it was easy for the to stand out among others in the indie space. Not only that, but Limbo was also highly praised for its creative gameplay that had a heavy emphasis on puzzle-platforming.
Trek to Yomi shares a similar art-style in that it’s being presented in a Noir style. For those who do not know, Noir style is a french term for “dark film” which normally consists of tragedy, dark romances and mature themes with a black and grey colors all throughout. The game is specifically designed to give you the feeling of experiencing an old-school feudal Japan film and it does quite a good job when it comes to that.
The preview included first two chapters of the game. As far as the storyline goes and the beginning of Trek to Yomi, it’s quite similar to journey of a title called Sifu. In Sifu, your master gets invaded and killed and its your turn to take revenge. You start of as a kid practicing your combat skills and that is played out as your in-game battle tutorial segment. Then the village gets invaded and your master goes of to defending the village. Once you reach the master you find very weakened and then he dies a few moments later. Now it is your duty to keep the village and his daughter safe from the bandits and that is where chapter 2 begins.
However, not everything is all roses and good smells based on what we played of Trek to Yomi because it does have one issue that I was not a very big fan of, but we will get into that in a little bit. The game’s combat system is easy to understand. Your character is only able to face left or right side. Pressing the R key on the keyboard will have your character switch which sides he is facing. There are many cases where you are surrounded by enemies from both sides, so you have to learn how to properly dance with the R key. The game has light combos by pressing the left mouse button and heavy attack combos by pressing the right mouse button, you can also combo from a light to a heavy as well.
As you can imagine, light attacks to less damage compared to the heavy attacks, but the heavy attacks take longer and more difficult to time properly. You can also block by holding shift, and if you block at a perfect time you will do a parry which will deflect the enemy’s sword leaving them vulnerable to land either a heavy or light attack. For a 2.5D game, the combat system is quite easy to get comfortable with, but it will vary from person to person. I will say though, that its much easier to play this game with a controller rather than a mouse and keyboard which is usually the case for most games such as Elden Ring or God of War.
In terms of exploration, there is not really much to explore sadly in Trek of Yomi. The game is limited to the left or right side of the screen. There are a few cases though where you can go off a beaten path and find some collectibles, ammo or go inside houses in a village to interact with NPCs. Interacting with NPCs usually gives the player some rewards as well which is a cool bonus.
Now on the issue that I have with the game that believe will keep it from being a game that could have been very good and that is repetition. Now I know what you might say, but aren’t all games repetitive in some shape or form? Yes, most video games are “repetitive” but the problem with Trek to Yumi is that it feels way too samey as you play through the game. The gameplay loop is cool at first and the combat is quite stylish and nice to look at, but it quickly wears off after about an hour or so. The game being super linear also doesn’t really help it much. Now to be frank, this is a preview build so perhaps the game gets a bit more interesting as you progress forward and start facing newer challenges. As of now, the only thing that impressed me about the game was its style and feel, but everything feels a bit too dry and quickly overtime the loop just feels a bit stagnant and not that interesting.
It’s hard to give a definitive verdict based on the current preview build and it would be very wrong to judge based on 1 hour or so of play. Stay tuned to our final review when the game ships later in the coming months. But as of now, I am not that optimistic about it.