In 2023, I’ve spent most of the year playing RPGs. For someone who has written in the past about not having the time to play long games, it’s funny that I enjoy those as much as I do. I’ve tried my best to play different types of role-playing games, ranging from classics like Final Fantasy IV to the more recent Starfield. It’s nice that there is so much variety in the genre. The latest RPG I’m playing is The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails, its English release on the Nintendo Switch. During my time with the game, the thing I most appreciate is its accessibility.
When the weather matters
The core concept behind The Legend of Nayuta is its season system. In the game, you are Nayuta, a young man who by accident discovers a new world and inadvertently gets involved in an evil quest for supreme domination. Yes, it’s your 90s/early 2000s standard RPG plot device.
But in this game, Nayuta and his partner, a fairy named Noi must travel through different continents seeking to find these gear items which allow you to control the seasons. As you progress, you’ll unlock the ability to change what’s the weather in a particular continent, opening up entirely new stages.
Where I’m at right now, I’ve got the four continents, but I’m still unlocking additional content. There are certain aspects in earlier levels that can only be accessed during specific seasons and certain abilities that are found later in the game. For now, each continent only has access to two seasons. I am hopeful that by the end of the game, each continent will have access to all four seasons.
Short stages with a ton of replayability
Each continent only has about four main stages with one boss stage where the plot moves forward. Each stage is relatively short. Although you can complete them in a few moments, all but the boss stages have items to find and additional mission objectives. Completing those is key to unlocking more abilities for Nayuta to use in the game.
Because of that, you’re encouraged to replay stages to find crystals, treasure chests, and bonus tasks. Crystals are also your currency, so upgrading to better weapons and armor is another reason to replay stages. There are more things to find in each stage, which opens up other content in the game.
If the stages were longer or more complicated, then replaying them would feel like a chore. But because of the benefits, I was more than happy to replay a stage one or two more times to do so. There are even special abilities you can find for your partner Noi, such as new support attacks she can perform. Her attacks are key to winning the more challenging combat sections when you’re facing off against multiple foes at once.
Some annoying platforming
The Legend of Nayuta is an action RPG with a lot of platforming. This is probably the least enjoyable aspect of the game. For as much fun as the combat is, needing to jump across large gaps in a 2.5D environment can be annoying. It’s also tough to sometimes tell what areas can be accessed versus others that are merely for show. I can’t tell you how many times I spent trying to double-jump to a section for it to not be possible.
While Nayuta isn’t an incredibly tough game, the stages have level recommendations. Every time I unlocked a new season or continent, I was under the recommended level. Although that was the case, I never felt I didn’t stand a chance. In fact, I suffered more damage from falls than from some enemies. Yes, I would die in a stage, but it was because something in the environment took enough HP that when I got to a mini-boss section, one or two hits were enough to wipe me out.
The environment also leads to a few frustrating moments when it comes to enemies. Some can attack you off-screen, leading me to get hit without knowing who was doing the attack. It was never annoying to the point that I considered stopping the game but did lead me to spamming Noi’s support attacks, which have better range, to defeat foes.
Itching to get back
I still have a bit more to go with The Legend of Nayuta, but this is one I’m certain I’ll finish. After putting in over 10 hours so far, I’m halfway through the game but haven’t quite hit the inevitable plot twist or shock reveal. Although this is part of the long-running Trails series, I haven’t seen anything that would directly connect it to any of the other games, even those I’ve played this year. So, you can jump into this, have fun, and not worry that you’re missing key beats.