Welcome to EXPlay, (Explain & Play) the review series where we care not for scores but tell it how it is when it comes to every game we get our hands on, whilst also taking the time to include some lengthy gameplay, to give you the reader, the chance to shape your own impressions and views whilst watching and reading.
In this explanatory review, we’re covering The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails by developer Nihon Falcom:
The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails (The Explanation)
First brought to life as a spin-off Trails game that doesn’t feature the continent of Zemuria, The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails is an action RPG that debuted in Japan, back in 2012 when it was released on the PlayStation Portable. Alas, The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails would go on to show us all how boundless it really is, when it would go on to receive a high-definition make and release on the PlayStation 4 and Windows in 2021.
This release was also restricted to Japan only, but in the two years that have since transpired, NIS America have been diligently working on localizing the game, so now at long last, after a decade of waiting, The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails is finally ready for its western debut. But something that really sets this release apart from other Nihon Falcom games that have released on Switch in recent years, is the fact that Nihon Falcom worked on the Switch version themselves, instead of handing it off to other companies they’ve worked with previously.
In terms of story, being the spin-off that it is, The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trailsfeatures an entirely new setting. The large continent of Zemuria has been replaced by the Ciencia Sea. In The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker fashion, a vast ocean stretches across the planet, broken up by small islands dotted here and there. Disappointingly, players won’t get the chance to learn about many of these islands, but at the very least, we do get to spend a good chunk of time on Remnant Isle, home to protagonist, Nayuta Herschel.
At 15 years of age and already an orphan, The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trailsstarts off as a “coming home” story, as Nayuta, a student at the academy in Saint Elysée, sails home for the summer, joined by his friend of five years, Cygna Alhazen. Nayuta goes home to his sister Eartha, where he gets to sample her delicious cooking, joined by Cygna and the two decide to reopen their handyman business. Through this business, they help their fellow residents of Remnant Isle by accomplishing set tasks. The activities don’t really take up too much time and it’s a nifty way of incorporating side quests into the game.
Still, the summer vacation that Nayuta and Cygna expect to have, swiftly changes into one they didn’t when ruins fall from the sky and land just off the cape of Remnant Isle. The boys set off to investigate, only to discover far more than they bargained for, setting them off down a path that Nayuta is all too happy to follow to the bitter end, across the game’s prologue, six chapters, epilogue and just in case the epilogue wasn’t enough of an ending for you, there is an After Story for players to playthrough as well.
Of course, the game content of The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails, doesn’t actually end there, as there is also a New Game+ available, for anyone who wishes to play through the game again on a higher difficulty setting. Just in case that reason alone isn’t enough to undertake this risk, all stars earned on completed stages, treasures obtained, equipment found and purchased, collectibles donated to the in-game museum, Mira and current level, carries over to the new playthrough.
You even get to keep all Star Fragments you found, enemy information obtained, remember all seasonal arts learned and retain all lunchboxes and ingredients obtained. So pretty much, although you will need to playthrough each stage and boss battle again and now be able to take on additional stages to obtain more stars and achievements, you do get to keep all other progress you made in your initial playthrough.
With regards to the actual gameplay, The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails is an RPG that uses a level system, but gaining experience is not just restricted to killing enemies, but can also be obtained via eating meals cooked by Eartha, that you store in the lunchboxes you possess. They also help to restore health, so if you take too much damage during a stage and are close to getting a Game Over, make sure to stuff Nayutas’ face with something tasty.
Only, because The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails is an action-adventure RPG, battles are not turn-based and play out in real time, allowing players to move freely as you attack, jump and dodge, doing all that you can to build you chain combo for additional benefits, whilst avoiding getting hit and having your chain combo reset. With no open-world present, the game’s locations are broken up into stages of varying length.
What does remain the same, however, is that on each stage, Nayuta must find his way to the end to advance to the next stage in the world map and to fully complete each stage, you must obtain three stars on it. One star can be earned just by beating the stage, another by collecting all treasure chests and shards discoverable, and the third, is by meeting a set requirement.
By earning enough stars, Nayuta can return to Remnant Isle to meet with Orbus, to learn new skills and techniques that will give Nayuta more of an edge in battle. For even more power, once joined by Noi, the fairy that will accompany Nayuta on his journey, by beating very powerful enemies on select stages, Noi can regain her seasonal abilities and deal all kinds of damage. What’s more, the more you make use of her skills, the more you can use them to unleash hell upon your enemies and more frequently.
In terms of graphical presentation, menu screens functionality and aesthetic, being the upscaled remaster that it is, The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails has been overhauled the base game graphics, with new illustrations added and visually comparable to the recent Crossbell arc remasters. It also has a targeted 60 FPS, which may not be the case for the Switch version, accompanied by higher quality music, and the occasional line of dialogue that is spoken in English, or Japanese, depending on which language you’re playing the game in. Although personally, I would have liked to have seen a few more scenes fully voice acted than just the few we did get.
There is no denying the fact that The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails, is an enjoyable little adventure. It might not know when to quite due to the inclusion of an After Story and then a New Game+ playthrough, featuring even more content than before, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
What is a shame, however, is after all our time with The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails, we are left knowing very little about the Ciencia Sea as the only island we every get to explore, is Remnant Isle itself, due to the entire adventure taking place in an elsewhere setting. Nevertheless, The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails is still an enjoyable action-adventure RPG that requires less time than most Trails games, which is highly welcome in an age where we’re constantly flooded with much larger RPGs.
The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails (The Gameplay)
Developer: Nihon Falcom
Publisher: NIS America
Platform: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Category: Role-Playing, Action, Adventure
No. of Players: 1 (Single System)
Release Date: NA: September 19, 2023 | EU: September 22, 2023
File Size: 4.1 GB