Like a lot of titles from Nihon Falcom, The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails had been a Japan-only release for a long time, all the way from its origins on the PSP in 2012 to its wider launch on modern platforms a few years back. Well, eleven years on from its first release, it’s finally making its English debut, giving players the opportunity to embark on this marvellous action RPG spin-off of the Trails franchise.
Check out some screenshots down below:
The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails puts players in the role of the titular Nayuta Herschel, an aspiring researcher from the picturesque Remnant Island, as he investigates a hidden world known as Lost Heaven. This investigation takes a wilder turn when a mysterious temple crash lands down beside Remnant Island, bringing with it a villain named Zechts who isn’t only looking to destroy Lost Heaven, but Nayuta’s world too. With his best friend Cygna and a peculiar fairy named Noi joining him, Nayuta must venture between worlds in order to obtain the power of the Master Gears as a means to bring Zechts down.
There’s a bit more to it than that and there’s a lot of character development taking place along your journey (especially if you get stuck into the charming selection of side quests that flesh out the world), but it’s a pretty straightforward battle of ‘good versus evil’ for the most part. RPG veterans may argue that it could be a little bit too simple in places, but I actually enjoyed the more streamlined approach – especially since The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails isn’t especially long, with it easily beaten in around eighteen-hours or so. It’s good fun, and whilst there aren’t any spectacular surprises in store for players, the narrative does a good job of keeping you invested in Nayuta’s plight.
“Most enemies are usually easy enough to take out at first (and your dodge roll and double-jump are handy for avoiding their attacks), though some will demand a bit of forward-thinking if you want to escape them unscathed – especially with the likes of status ailments, weaknesses and resistances, and their varying attack types coming into play as you progress through the game.”
When it comes to the gameplay, The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails takes an action RPG approach, with players slashing their way through enemies with quick button presses and running and jumping across an array of platforming challenges. Nayuta’s a dab hand with a blade so is swift enough to hit some decent combos, whilst Noi can assist by unleashing a variety of magical attacks upon enemies. Most enemies are usually easy enough to take out at first (and your dodge roll and double-jump are handy for avoiding their attacks), though some will demand a bit of forward-thinking if you want to escape them unscathed – especially with the likes of status ailments, weaknesses and resistances, and their varying attack types coming into play as you progress through the game. And the boss battles? They’re very creative in design, forcing players to adapt to their move set and pick their opportunity to strike as they go through varying stages. They’re a highlight of the experience and offer some of The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails’ best moments.
It makes for a really enjoyable and addictive experience, whilst the platforming segments in levels are surprisingly fun too. Don’t get me wrong, there were a few instances where it could be a little tricky to judge the distance of a jump, but it was rare that it ever felt cumbersome or unfair… it just takes some getting used to. There’s room for exploration too, with levels hosting some treasures to find along the way – it’s not a necessity to seek them out, but with the shorter length of the levels, it never feels like a chore. Each level also brings with them different objectives to complete that sees players earning stars to spend on upgrades and extra abilities, so there’s a real incentive in place to replay through levels and grab everything they have to offer. And believe me, some of these extra abilities are game-changers and REALLY make Nayuta even more fun to play as, so it’s definitely worth getting stuck in and earning as many stars as you can.
Check out some screenshots down below:
It all comes together nicely to make for an entertaining yet easy-going RPG experience, with The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails offering quick-paced gameplay that keeps the player progressing steadily. Whilst there’s an emphasis placed on replaying stages to earn those upgrades, they’re short enough that they never feel like a chore, whilst the myriad of side quests means there’s always something extra to look out for along the way. Nothing ever feels like a slog, whilst the fact that the combat continually evolves thanks to your new abilities and the game’s tougher battle scenarios means it never loses its sense of excitement.
One of my favourite things about The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails are its visuals, with its old-school style PSP aesthetic still looking wonderful eleven-years on from the game’s original release. Don’t get me wrong, it’s obviously not going to look as slick and detailed as the modern RPGs that we get to play (there’s only so much that a HD lick of paint can do), but there’s still something so charming about the world and character design that it’s hard not to be enthralled by the way everything looks.
The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails Review
The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails is a charming action RPG that’ll keep player hooked in with its slick combat and swift pacing. I loved playing through levels, completing all of their objectives, and continually upgrading my skillset, whilst the satisfying combat mechanics ensure it’s always fun to battle enemies – especially the boss encounters which offers some strategically fun showdowns. Add to that the charming presentation that manages to hold up well despite being an eleven-year-old PSP game, and it’ll be easy to see that The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails is well worth the attention of action RPG fans.
Developer: Nihon Falcom
Publisher: NIS America
Platform(s): PC (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch