Earlier this summer, The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie closed a pivotal chapter of the Trails series in English. The wait for a Kuro no Kiseki localization may be well underway, but now is the perfect opportunity to look back at another Trails game: The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails. Known as Nayuta no Kiseki in Japan, it was an intriguing Trails title for its time with a completely different setting and cast of characters. Releasing for the first time in English, The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails is a really fun and unique action RPG that offers a simplistic but memorable story that Trails fans should absolutely consider playing through.
Before looking forward, The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails lets fans look back at an enigmatic spin-off that finally gets its chance to shine. The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails brings players to Remnant Isle, a peaceful archipelago located in the mysterious Sea of Ciencia. A simple summer vacation turns into a journey between worlds when that peace is put in jeopardy. This fantastical adventure lets players control the seasons, traverse colorful locales, uncover secrets of a mysterious race, and help fellow island inhabitants live their best lives.
The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails – A World With a Clear End
The story begins with Nayuta Herschel, a young boy with a fascination for the unknown, on a voyage back to his home on Remnant Isle. Nayuta recalls a saying that Remnant Isle inhabitants have known for their entire lives—this world has an end. His parents died while attempting to pursue what lies beyond the outer edges known as the End of the World. Nayuta inherited this will to journey and discover what may lie on the other side of his world. Nayuta’s lifelong friend, Cygna, wants him to go to sleep since the ship will likely arrive in the morning, but a sudden meteor shower quickly interrupts their conversation. This meteor shower may seem like a random occurrence for a nighttime scene, but The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails quickly establishes that stars and mysterious falling from the sky is normal.
Nayuta and Cygna’s summer vacation finally begins as they disembark in Remnant Isle. The two head to the Herschel household, where Nayuta’s sister Eartha awaits while examining a Star Fragment. Star Fragments appear to hold visions and projections of places that are far out of reach. Nayuta is an obvious Star Fragment enthusiast, so he quickly begins to examine the projection and notices that it’s much clearer than any he has ever seen. After having breakfast and completing some requests in town, Nayuta and Cygna notice an extremely large tower falling toward the Remnant Isle coast. Master Orbus gives Nayuta and Cygna permission to investigate this tower, and the two discover a fairy named Noi. She holds many of the answers Nayuta seeks, and trouble quickly ensues when another party enters the fray.
A Different Trails Adventure
The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails is an action RPG with platforming elements, so its quite the departure from the Erebonia and Crossbell turn-based RPGs. However, the game is not 1:1 with combat from Falcom’s Ys franchise either. Instead, this title strikes a middle ground between Trails, Ys, and Zwei while having its own unique qualities. Players control Nayuta and his fairy companion Noi through various levels in Terra, which is also known as Lost Heaven. Levels and seasons may be selected on a world map, and Nayuta and Noi may warp to and from Terra as they please. Players will often backtrack through levels with newly acquired abilities, complete quests, acquire more loot, and gain the highest possible rating. Each season brings twists to the same level, too. In this regard, this Trails title does have a few Metroidvania-like elements that fans may enjoy.
The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails and its setting are completely different from Zemuria, but the game also feels familiar in subtle ways due to character dialogue and returning features. Although Remnant Isle is a small island, it has everything the player would typically need for a long adventure. For example, Nayuta may purchase new gear at Ada’s weapon shop, and Sasha’s general store has its own unique assortment of goods and ingredients. Additionally, there’s an Animal Crossing-like museum feature where players submit collectibles, including bugs and artifacts, and view them in different rooms. Nayuta knows all of the island’s inhabitants, and he may listen to their inquires and accept requests as a handyman. While making sufficient progress in Terra, new characters will visit Remnant Isle, and many more events and changes will occur.
Fun, Simplistic Action
The combat system of The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails is fairly straightforward with Nayuta being a novice swordsman. Nayuta’s combos are quite rigid and limited at the start of the game, but the character grows stronger as he levels up, acquires more powerful gear, and learns techniques from Orbus. These techniques may be learned after acquiring sufficient stars from level completions. Moreover, the protagonist may string together attacks in a Chain, and every 20 consecutive hits grants a power-up. For instance, Nayuta will gain strength and intellect boosts at 20 and 40 Chain hits respectively. More substantial bonuses become active as the Chain grows, and cooked meals will stack additional bonuses for a brief period. Chaining together attacks becomes much more satisfying and feasible after Nayuta and Noi gain more techniques and magic arts.
Although the game’s combat is simplistic, there’s a lot of fun to be had as Nayuta takes down enemies with stylish techniques and combos. Eventually, Nayuta may learn Radiant Techniques, which are major upgrades to existing techniques. Radiant Techniques are active once a Chain requirement is met, allowing Nayuta to unleash powerful attacks or useful maneuvers that aid him against multiple enemies. Noi has a plethora of arts to learn, and these arts may be equipped and switched at any time. Noi’s equipment is notable since provides unique bonuses such as increased chances to inflict status aliments, drop rate increases, and damage reduction.
Nearly 11 years after its release on PlayStation Portable in Japan, The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails comes to modern platforms worldwide with a number of major improvements. One of these improvements includes 60 frames-per-second support, making the combat and platforming feel very smooth and responsive. Moreover, the audio quality has been greatly improved, so fans can expect the stellar soundtrack by Falcom Sound Team jdk to sound even better than before. The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails also includes updated graphics and new illustrations to breathe new life into the story’s most important scenes. Further, the signature High-Speed Mode from previous Trails releases returns for those wanting to breeze through battles and backtracking through levels.
Despite being remastered and improved, The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails is still a PSP game at its heart. The character models and textures were slightly off-putting during the game’s early hours, but I definitely became more fond of the art-style and presentation over time. In addition, the game’s English dub was a welcomed surprise since The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero and Trails into Azure did not receive a dub in their English releases. Overall, The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails exudes charm in its own ways while maintaining some of the Trails tropes and core aspects that fans know and love. The remaster does a great job emphasizing what I enjoy about Falcom titles and Trails from start to finish.
The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails – A Unique and Highly Replayable RPG
I didn’t want The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails to end during the fantastic After Story chapter because I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the game. After completing the first playthrough in roughly 38 hours, I was pleasantly surprised by the content-rich New Game Plus mode with even more levels and quests to enjoy in the game’s fascinating world. In addition, the Infinity difficulty mode is unlocked for a harder challenge. This gives players the opportunity to get remaining achievements/trophies and strive for 100% completion. In short, this RPG has very high replay value compared to other entries in the Trails series, and I believe this is commendable considering the amount of content these games normally have.
The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails brings a wealth of lore, a simple but pleasant cast of characters, and a combat system that gets better while progressing through the story and its many levels. Although The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails lacks some of the polish and more addictive gameplay features of Ys today, it still manages to pull its weight while staying true as a Falcom RPG in all of the right ways. The excellent music and quality-of-life improvements round out this unique title very nicely alongside its English dub, too. The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails is a game that Trails fans should not sleep on this year while waiting for the next entry. What’s more, it showcases the Falcom’s creativity outside of what Trails normally offers.
Disclaimer: NIS America provided Final Weapon with a review copy of The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails for Nintendo Switch.