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Game review: Trek to Yomi (Nintendo Switch)
Fri, 3rd Feb 2023
FYI, this story is more than a year old

When it comes to Samurai video games, the title that most people will be familiar with is Ghost of Tsushima. The PlayStation exclusive is arguably the best samurai game of all time, but that does not mean other samurai titles don’t exist.

If you are into smaller games, you might have already heard of Trek to Yomi. The game was released in 2022 for PC, PlayStation and Xbox platforms.

Fast forward to 2023, and the game is finally available for the Nintendo Switch. Since being a side-scroller, one could say that Trek to Yomi feels right at home when you are playing the game on a handheld system like the Nintendo Switch.

Before I begin talking about the gameplay, the one thing that bugged me the most about Trek to Yomi on Nintendo Switch was the very long loading times. I originally played this game on the Xbox Series X, and the load times were much more bearable. I don’t get why the load times are long since this game doesn’t look visually demanding.

As for the game’s story, Trek to Yomi makes you assume the role of a samurai named Hiroki. At the start of the game, you control him as a kid when some evil men are invading his village. Later on, you control him as an adult, and you will have to kill demons and other creatures.

In terms of visuals, some people will be surprised that this game is all black and white. The game is trying to emulate the look of Seven Samurai, a famous Japanese movie from the ‘50s. I will say the Nintendo Switch version looks much blurrier than when I played the game on Xbox Series X.

Another unique thing about this game is its visual presentation. The game has a fixed camera system, and this can be a problem sometimes. At certain times the camera is set too far away from the action, and you may be unable to see where a save point is. At other times, you might even miss an exit to where you need to go next!

Keeping with its authenticity, you can play the game with Japanese audio and English subtitles. This is arguably the best way to play the game. If you want to have a bit of a laugh, you can play the game listening to the horrendous-sounding English dub if you wish.

Gameplay-wise, Trek to Yomi has a combat system that is way more simplified compared to Ghost of Tsushima. You don’t need to learn different stances for combat, but it is important to know when you should block and counterattack your enemies.

Unlike in some other games, Trek to Yomi is quite generous because the enemies don’t attack you simultaneously. Instead, bad guys will attack you one at a time, giving you a chance to block and strike them down at your own pace. However, you will need to turn around to attack enemies that might be striking you from behind.

What I like most about the combat in this game is that it feels semi-realistic. Most enemies will die by your sword with one or two strikes. You also have to block at the right time if you want to counterattack. The only time you need to strike constantly is during boss fights since they will have a larger life bar than normal enemies do.

Aside from the stylish sword combat, there are some other weapons that Hiroki has at his disposal. The game has some long-range weapons such as a bow and arrow and even shurikens. While ammo is limited, I do like how you can use it if other enemies are shooting arrows at you, too.

The last long-ranged combat weapon you have is the ozustu. This is like a shotgun cannon, and it can kill enemies with ease. The only downside to using it is the limited ammo available, and it’s also very slow to use at times.

There are also some small puzzle elements added in this game to break the monotony of combat. They’re not very hard to solve, but it’s a nice change of pace from walking around and being engaged in combat all of the time.

While I enjoyed this game, the one thing that might disappoint some people is its very short length. During my first playthrough of the game, I managed to finish Trek to Yomi in just over five hours. If you’re playing the game on a harder difficulty, your playthrough might last six hours. That being said, the game is very short, with little to no replay value.

Trek to Yomi is a semi-decent game, but the Nintendo Switch version is the worst iteration of the game so far. The loading times are long, and it’s hard to see where you’re going if you’re playing in handheld mode. If you have access to other gaming platforms, it’s better to play Trek to Yomi there.

Verdict: 7.0/10