Trek to Yomi feels like playing through a Kurosawa film

Flying Wild Hog's Trek to Yomi impresses in its visual design and combat.


Devolver Digital has proven to be a diverse publisher, delivering a wide variety of gaming experiences each and every year. One of its latest projects is Trek to Yomi, an action-adventure game from Flying Wild Hog, the team behind Shadow Warrior and Evil West. I had the chance to go hands-on with an early build of Trek to Yomi and walked away excited about the final game.

The road ahead

Trek to Yomi follows the story of Hiroki, a young orphan that’s taken in by a sensei, Sanjuro. Trained in the ways of the sword to protect his village, Hiroki’s skills are abruptly put to the test. Trek to Yomi’s campaign is looking like it will deliver an adventure that plays on classic tropes of the genre, dealing with themes of loss and the struggle between good and evil.

From the time I spent with the preview, it was clear that Trek to Yomi’s story moves at a fairly fast pace. You first step into the shoes of Hiroki as a young boy, and the game features time jumps that let you see him at different points in his life. These time jumps also have implications on his relationships and surrounding environment.

The way of the blade

Trek to Yomi’s combat is melee-based, with Hiroki wielding a sword to bring down his foes. There’s a variety of different swings, in addition to throwables, blocks, and parry abilities that players can employ in battle.

Something interesting about Trek to Yomi’s combat is that it’s always played out in a 2D format, despite the world being three-dimensional. When combat is about to commence, the game organically pulls you into a two-dimensional field. When combat ends, the world opens back up and players can once again explore freely.

Like something out of the movies

The developers have stated that they were strongly influenced by Japanese cinema of the 50s and 60s, and that’s so apparent in the game’s visual identity. The black and white color scheme paired with the film grain effect makes Trek to Yomi feel like a video game recreation of a classic Kurosawa picture.

These film inspirations also extend to how the game is shot. Trek to Yomi’s fixed camera frames the action gorgeously. There were a few occasions where my enemy got a free shot at me because I was too busy admiring the scenery. You could take a screenshot of just about any random moment and it looks like a shot taken from a movie.

The trek begins

Trek to Yomi is so clearly made from a place of passion and reverence. That’s evident even after spending a short amount of time with the game. We’ll have to see if Flying Wild Hog lands its strike when Trek to Yomi releases later this year.

These impressions are based on a digital Steam copy of Trek to Yomi provided by the publisher. Trek to Yomi is set to be released for PC and consoles in 2022.

News Editor

Donovan is a young journalist from Maryland, who likes to game. His oldest gaming memory is playing Pajama Sam on his mom's desktop during weekends. Pokémon Emerald, Halo 2, and the original Star Wars Battlefront 2 were some of the most influential titles in awakening his love for video games. After interning for Shacknews throughout college, Donovan graduated from Bowie State University in 2020 with a major in broadcast journalism and joined the team full-time. He is a huge Scream nerd and film fanatic that will talk with you about movies and games all day. You can follow him on twitter @Donimals_

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