The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails - PC Review

The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails by developer Nihon Falcom and publisher NIS AmericaPC(Steam) review written by Richard with a copy provided by the publisher.
Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails is a title that has been on my list for *checks notes* two years now, waiting for it to get an English patch for the PC release. Wouldn't you know it, that English version is finally here! Come join me as we take a look at this action RPG title from Falcom!

Legend of Nayuta stars the eponymous Nayuta, a young man on his summer break from Saint Elysee school on the mainland. On his return to his island hometown, he gets involved with a fairy he finds in ruins that fall from the sky. This leads to Nayuta exploring another world along with Noi, the fairy he helped, in order to restore order to the world. It is your goal to help Nayuta through this arduous task!

If you're at all familiar with Falcom titles, such as the Trails or Ys series, then you're going to be right at home here with Legend of Nayuta. A 3D action RPG that is closer to Ys titles in nature, you will spend most of your time traveling to the world of Terra in order to help fix the environmental anomalies, while taking the occasional trip back to Remnant Isle, Nayuta's hometown, in order to complete quests for villagers and turn in long-running goals, as well as check in on your family and friends.

Remnant Isle is where you will find all your standard RPG affairs, such as the weapon and item shops, the villagers you can interact with, a mailbox where you can receive sidequests, as well as a number of other facilities, as well as NPCs you can interact with. Terra is where you will traverse through a number of stages, fighting your way through violent creatures to reach the teleporter at the end of the stage. In the village on Remnant Isle, apart from the standard shops, you can also donate to the museum, get your sister to make you food, and go see your swordsmanship instructor about learning new moves.

The museum is pretty simple, you can donate collectible items you get as random drops in stages for cash and they will be displayed in the museum. All collectibles can be exchanged for cash, and every benchmark of new items will see you given bonus rewards. Your sister is also hanging around your house, and she can make you some delicious lunchboxes. These not only heal you, but will also provide exp as well as other possible bonuses, like increasing strength temporarily. After making a meal once, your sister will teach you the recipe, allowing you to make the meal on your own. Your swordsmanship mentor is down by the beach, and will teach you new moves every six stamps, which I'll talk about how to get later. These new moves include increasing basic combo hits, as well as a guard, so it's a good idea to put at least a little effort into this.

Now that you're all ready and geared to explore, it's off to Terra with us! Don't worry, you're not alone though, as the fairy Noi will join you on your adventure, and she's a lot more useful than you may think! But first though, how does exploring Terra work? Well, upon your first foray into adventure, you will be introduced to the four continents, each of which is experiencing a seasonal change in climate. You then need to make it through a number of stages to get to the temple and correct the season change. Stages are one of two types that you can tell from hovering over them on the map screen: "adventure" stages, or boss stages. Adventure stages have optional objectives, and boss stages don't, a handy tip for you.

On the map screen, adventure stages will have three crystals, one or two chests, and maybe a powerful enemy, as well as three star indicators for whether you've completed the side objectives or not. You get one star for finishing a stage, one for whatever the optional objective is, and one for getting all the crystals and chests. Thankfully, none of this has to be done in a single run. Powerful enemies are special fights which will reward Noi with a new spell, which I'll get to in a bit. If these stars seem familiar, these are the stamps used for the swordsman training.

Now then, the stages themselves are a 3D action adventure style deal, where you will do some platforming and fighting with enemies, solving puzzles, and interacting with the environment in order to get to the end. Depending on the season, this could mean sliding around on ice, avoiding pools of lava, jumping across giant mushrooms, or hopping across invisible platforms that only appear during lightning flashes. Barring your way will be both enemies and environmental obstacles. Nayuta can swing away with his sword, either a 1-handed or 2-handed option, dodge or jump away, or guard attacks once unlocked. Hitting enemies will also build up a chain combo, which can provide bonuses based on number of hits, although waiting too long or getting hit resets it.

Noi, your fairy companion, can help out too! Noi is capable of using arts, what are essentially spells, and are generally some form of projectile attack. These arts are primarily learned by defeating the strong enemies in select stages, indicated by a monster icon on the map screen, and have a certain number of uses associated with them, as well as a level. Arts can level based on uses, and uses will slowly recharge either over time or when Nayuta attacks enemies with his sword. Noi will also gain adventuring abilities, such as a grapple or a shield, which also have a gauge under Nayuta's health that drains while in use and recharges over time.

Get through stages by employing your action platforming skills, with the occasional mandatory fight here or there. Beating enemies does reward Nayuta with exp so he can level up and get stronger, and enemies will also drop cash, which you'll probably need a fair amount of. Enemies may will also drop food and collectibles for you. Stages will also have switches you may need to hit to open gates, as well as tricky terrain you need to cross with Noi's help. There will also be the occasional circle on the floor that stepping in starts a mandatory fight and blocks your exits. These will open up a new route or grant access to a crystal or chest when completed. Reaching the end allows you access to the next stage.

A couple of handy notes for you: first off, sidequests are usually given to your mailbox at home. Lucky for you, there is an indicator on-screen for new sidequests in your mailbox, new rewards for unique museum donations, and if you have enough stamps to learn a new move at the swordsman training. Be aware though that not all sidequests are handed to your mailbox, although most will be. Secondly, if a sidequest can be completed in a certain stage, an exclamation mark will appear above the stage on the map for the stage selection. This is really handy to keep you from replaying long stages that may or may not be where you need to go to fulfill a requirement. Thirdly, and arguably one of the most important late game, is that you can get more lunchbox slots by making set numbers of new dishes for the first time. The more new dishes you make, the more lunchbox slots you can have for healing items, which can be used pretty much whenever you want through your menu.

Now, let's talk about what I feel is one of Falcom's greatest strengths: the music. Falcom titles always have an absolutely stellar soundtrack to accompany them, whether it's an emotional piece during a sad cutscene, an exciting piece during an epic moment, or just some absolutely amazing stage, battle, or area themes, Falcom always seems to really nail the music. Even from the tutorial stage it starts off hard on the stage themes, and this concept is carried all the way through, whether it's a boss theme, the song that plays on remnant isle, or the cutscene music. All throughout Legend of Nayuta I always felt I was on an adventure, through both the music and gameplay.

Now, while the music tracks may be absolutely amazing, I do have to inform you that Legend of Nayuta originally released in 2012 for the PSP. Yeah, the graphics are fairly dated looking, and rather obvious they were originally modeled for a handheld console. Yes, things have been improved for this PC port, but you can still tell. For me this wasn't a deal breaker at all though, as the focus here should be the gameplay and storytelling, but those expecting some new age graphics will be let down in that department at least.

I ended up finishing my run clocking in at about 23 hours for the full game through to the end of the epilogue. Good news for you though, there's actually a fair amount of replayablity. First up, there are more stages, sidequests, as well as bonuses you can purchase after hitting a certain point in the story that are only available during a new game. Plus, the new stages are...rough, especially if you decide to try out the new difficulty *shudders*. Speaking of the new difficulty, this may add even more to your play time, as I would highly suggest a full playthrough before the new hardest difficulty to get all the other achievements and such, although not strictly required. The new difficulty is quite the challenge increase, so those familiar with Ys Nightmare/Infernal mode can feel right at home here.

While I absolutely loved Legend of Nayuta, there are a few issues you may run into. First up, while the jumping and platforming is usually reasonable, there were a few instances where my depth perception just wasn't having it, or a platform was a little too close and I bonked my head on it instead of going over and on top of it. While this is mostly due to my platforming habits, it's usually just a bit of a nuisance and nothing more, as it is only very rarely it happens near a bottomless pit, and those tend to be a little bit more reasonable at least. Late game stages can also get really rough, especially the optional challenges like "jump ten times or less" or "don't get hit". At least those are optional, but some of the stages themselves can be challenging, either due to lots of tricky platforming, rough enemy placements, or a lot of mandatory fights with annoying enemy combinations.

Overall, I have to say that The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails is an absolutely amazing action platformer RPG. There is a lot of interesting stage design, a solid gameplay core, interesting and engaging characters and storyline, and a spectacular soundtrack to accompany it. While the graphics may seem a bit dated and there are a few rough spots in terms of fights or stage design, there was never any point I got super frustrated any more than a "who decided to put those enemies there", and even that was pretty rare. If you're a fan of the Ys series you'll feel right at home here, as Legend of Nayuta is a great title to add to your collection.

Score: 9 / 10


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