A first look at Trek to Yomi

On the kind offer of Devolver Digital, we had the opportunity to get a first taste of the upcoming Trek to Yomi, a game that made many heads turn when it was first introduced last summer.

Of course, the reason is none other than his black and white look, combined with the Feudal Japan era in which the Japanese voice-over is set, giving it a very strong Akira Kurosawa vibe. Quite a bold approach, we can say, as there will probably be grumbling over the lack of colour choice, which we personally loved, being fans of films such as Seven Samurai, Yojimbo and Throne of Blood. Besides, the execution is so good that you feel like you're in one of these films, overlooking the expected problems caused by black and white, namely the not-so-clear image of some elements of the environment.

In the preview build we played, we were able to play two chapters of the game, with the premise being pretty much as expected. In the first chapter, the game's hero is young Hiroki, a promising samurai whose village is cowardly attacked by bandits. The result of this clash, after he himself, despite his young age, managed to slaughter a dozen or so guys, was that his teacher was killed by the sword of the bandit leader.

Of course, something like this couldn't be allowed to pass and Hiroki vows revenge. Moving on to chapter two, as an adult now, on a quiet day he learns that there is an attack in the next village by a gang of ruthless killers and without hesitation, along with a handful of his comrades, he sets out to help the situation. Obviously, the rest of the story will be given when the game is released in full, as the preview version stops short of a major reveal.

As for the game itself, it's a beat 'em up in 2D perspective, with several 3D nuggets where the game's direction dictates. Not exaggerating on the latter, Trek to Yomi has a strong cinematic feel to it, with the camera often placed in places that serve the picture and the wow factor, but also focusing on the action whenever necessary.

The action is primarily based on timing. We have two attack buttons at our disposal, which represent the fast and the strong hits. Using the stick (gamepad is recommended, although mouse/keyboard is equally functional) we can direct our strike low, medium or high, which our enemies apply accordingly. In addition, there is the block button, which if applied at the right time parries the oncoming attack. It goes without saying that this is a very useful ability, as two or three hits (or even a powerful one) are enough to take both us and the enemies out of fight, in an attempt to make the combat system more realistic.

After all, there is a stamina bar which limits our moves and encourages us to play strategically. Obviously heavy hits spend more stamina than fast ones, while we can't keep using dodge moves for the rest of our lives. Therefore, it is better to observe the body movements of enemies so that we can anticipate their attack and react accordingly. If we don't do this and get caught up in button-mashing situation, it is only a matter of seconds before our stamina is depleted and we are left defenseless to an incoming strike. Which means instant death.

The truth is that the combat system works quite well, it has rhythm and weight, although in the two chapters we played it didn't manage to show all its virtues. That's because the regular enemies we face are slow, predictable and therefore easy targets, and it didn't take much effort on our part to move on - unless we were surrounded, where things got murky. Even the boss fell rather easily, although we did spot some armoured guys who needed a bit more work. Presumably in the final version, things will get a lot harder further down the line.

Besides, Trek to Yomi is very generous in terms of checkpoints, which are spotted on a very regular basis and fill our health bar to the brim when we visit them. A health bar that is just as easily increased, once we stray off the designated path and explore the area we're in a bit. The only sure thing is that we will be rewarded for our efforts with collectibles that increase both the stamina bar and the number of gadgets we can carry (what did you think, we wouldn't have more aces up our sleeve?).

So while waiting for the final version that is expected to appear in spring (we don't have an exact release date yet), we reserve for a detailed review for an interesting indie production, which looks very promising.

Giorgos Dempegiotis

Lover of action, shooter, adventure, RPG's and sometimes racing games, he prefers mainly single-player gaming. Every now and then he breaks out into a multi, but he doesn't overdo it.

lelos kounelos

Ancient Red Dragon
Dec 9, 2012
Το ασπρομαυρο μου τραβηξε την προσοχη και με το Kurosawa με ειχες μεχρι το τελος της αναγνωσης.
Υπαρχει κατι καλυτερο απο το παιζεις κατι που μυριζει Kurosawa... αλλα δεν υπαρχει αμυνα; καταλαβα σωστα;


Beyond Within
Staff member
Nov 26, 2012
Υπάρχει κανονικά άμυνα. Απλά καλό είναι να τη χρησιμοποιείς την κατάλληλη στιγμή.


Ancient Red Dragon
Nov 26, 2012
Μου θυμίζει σινεμασκόπ εκδοχή του Karateka που ερωτεύτηκα μικρός. Δαγκωτή αγορά Day 1 κι ας πάρουν Suntory τα παιδιά :D

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