The Blaugust bunch do a monthly look in at the Humble Choice monthly offerings, each taking a game or two and writing up a little review of sorts to cover the games within and give a vague look in. A nice thing for folks who may be undecided on whether or not they’ll pick it up on a given month, but also just an interesting snippet of game reviews.
For August, we have a pretty solid selection of games:
I threw my hat into the ring for the first time this month and had a look at Trek to Yomi, from Devolver Digital, an interesting little hack and slash side-scrolling RPG where you play as a samurai protecting his village and the surrounding area from a bandit invasion. The whole thing is like an old black and white samurai movie (which makes me think this could be an interesting game for Roger). And if there’s anything I love in gaming, it’s titles that dare to do something a little different.
Bare in mind I’m not feeling too well right now as I had some major dental work yesterday and it’s knocked me on my arse a bit. Helpfully, past me wrote some notes! So let’s go on our little descent.
The first thing I want to talk about here is the style of Trek to Yomi. Everything from the story to visuals to music is curated to make the game feel like you’re playing in an old samurai film. The graphics have a film grain effect and the sounds are so atmospheric, it’s pretty well done. But of course, you can turn off the film grain if it bothers you. It is also presented in Japanese with English subtitles, though you do have the option of English voice acting if that’s your preference. Usually I would switch to English as I have a lot of focus issues and having to read subtitles tends to be very tiring for me, but this time around I left it on Japanese and didn’t have an issue.
The story start out very typically. You do the tutorial as a young boy learning his art under his sensei, bandits attack the village, you grow up, bandits. Fairly typical for this style of story. Although, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go into this as it’s a little way into the game but I feel like it’s worth setting expectations (besides, the Steam page reveals as much), there are absolutely supernatural elements down the line. This is not just a simple “samurai protects his village from bandits” story, oh no no. You see, “yomi” is the Japanese word for the land of the dead, where your soul goes in the afterlife. I will say no more, however.
Now, as for how the game plays, it is a side-scrolling hack and slash. I was generally okay with how it felt, I did have my game difficulty set to easy, of course. Though I did fine the difficulty increasing the more I progressed. Which is fine, that’s to be expected for most games and you do have fairly regular save points, these little lit shrines you interact with to regain health and save the game. I think where my personal frustration came in was having to remember everything. You can block, parry, dodge, perform light attacks, heavy attacks, three different ranged attacks, numerous attack combos, finishers… It became a lot, especially when the cinematic camera made it harder to see what exactly you are doing, though usually you have a clear view. That said, I enjoy this kind of combat so it didn’t feel bad, just became frustrating as the difficulty ramped up and I felt I needed to balance using more abilities.
You can also go off the beaten path and unlock collectables. It can be tough to work out which way the beaten path is and miss out on things, but wander into some random house you may find hidden shrines, ammo, stamina and health upgrades, artifacts and cards that just give you a little bit of flavour. It’s a nice little addition to help the world feel more broad in such a linear game.
Chapter 4 is when the game really started to grip me. I’m not the biggest fan of action movies, though I do enjoy period pieces, but here the story takes a turn and gets really interesting.
Overall, I can say that the game certainly isn’t perfect. Sometimes the combat can feel a little clunky and the camera angles can get really awkward in parts. But generally if it appeals to you, you may like what Trek to Yomi does.
More Coverage of This Month’s Choice Games
StalkingVengeance took on Disco Elysium, one I’m very excited to get around to at some point.
Naithin took a peek at Chivalry 2, one I’m mildly intrigued by but turned off by the PvP aspect.
Magi has covered Road 96, which I think might be the most interesting game in this collection for me.
Krikket delved into Arcade Paradise, which I must say isn’t my favourite game of the bundle but I might peep at some day.
She also ended up checking out SuchART, which is one of the lower tier games none of us were exactly sure about. Sounds cute though!
Magi also has coverage for Tin Can which I must admit, sounds fun on paper but perhaps a little too overwhelming for me.
And Krikket also picked up Hot Brass, which I’m unsure about but might speak to my love of management sims.