The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails

released on Jul 26, 2012

Nayuta no Kiseki (Trails of Nayuta) is an action-RPG developed by Nihon Falcom for PlayStation Portable. The game belongs to The Legend of Heroes series of role-playing video games, but is more action-oriented, and is not a mainline entry in the series.

The game also features platforming elements like Ys: The Oath in Felghana.

The game happens in a world called Lost Heaven. The characters' hometown is Remnant Island, an island located in the center of Sciencia Sea, a vast ocean with countless islands. Shooting stars have been continually falling from the sky for some time, leaving much of these piled up on the island. Stones known as "Star Fragments" have been discovered in these areas. By shining a light on them in a certain way, people can see the phantom world of Lost Heaven.

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Really fun action RPG! Reminds me of the good old Ys games.

The Legend of Nayuta is a „stand alone“ game from Falcom, outside of Ys and the Trails series. You play as the 15 year old boy Nayuta, who is trying to find the secrets of his world. At the start of the game you return to Remnant Isles, your hometown, where periodically small ruins are falling from the sky which Nayuta observes. After the fall of a bigger ruin the adventure starts to unfold.
The games strengths are in its characters and story. The story is rather short for a JRPG title (20 hours) but has an amazing pacing and directly grabs you. There are beautiful twists and turns and the writing and dialog is peak. All characters feel alive, from the small side characters in the village to the main cast that grows on your heart super fast.
The gameplay here is a mix of action combat and platforming – which is also the weakest part. Combat is very repetitive, you learn a few more skills and tricks but they do not change the way you play. You also learn magic spells, but the same here: Take the one with the best damage/hitbox and roll with them. There is no real reason to switch the spells a lot.
The platforming on the other hand can be a lot of fun, but it also makes a lot of basic mistakes. Bad camera angles, that lead to a lot of falling and especially the last levels have some convoluted design which can confuse players that are not into those games at all.
Overall if you are looking for an amazing story with great characters – this is a game for you! If you are looking for great combat and platforming adventure – it might not be your game.

Was excellent. 👌
If you like Action JRPGs like Ys this will tick all boxes.
Holds up very well and the story is wholesome.
Great soundtrack and gameplay.
Maybe a little too padded could have done with being a chapter short perhaps but overall very enjoyable.

The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails is a surprising and delightful departure from the traditional Trails series, offering a lighthearted yet engaging adventure. The game introduces Nayuta, a curious and knowledgeable adventurer, who sets out to uncover the mysteries of the unknown. The balance in his character, between reserve and curiosity, provides a refreshing perspective. The initial characters, including Cygna and Noi, start off somewhat shallow, but given the Trails series' history, there's a promise of more depth to come. The gameplay, while seemingly simple with basic combat mechanics, offers an addictive and satisfying experience reminiscent of Ys-style gameplay. The execution from a turn-based system to action-oriented combat is a welcome change for me personally. Visually, the game shines, with cel-shaded art making the models pop despite its origins on the PSP.
As the story progresses, the game's strengths become more apparent. The platform action combat feels satisfying, even if the control scheme takes some time to get used to. The level design is meticulous, with branching paths and backtracking feeling natural. Boss battles are a highlight, providing both challenge and spectacle, enhancing the overall gameplay experience. In terms of the narrative, the game's pace mirrors other introductory Trails titles, moving slowly but ensuring each chapter ends with a compelling hook. The characters, particularly Nayuta and Noi, undergo significant development, drawing players into their journey. While some plot points feel abrupt or lack proper foreshadowing, the overarching narrative is engaging and keeps players invested. The game's climax delivers on its promises, weaving together various narrative threads and character arcs with finesse. Themes of optimism, human spirit, and sacrifice are explored masterfully, leading to a satisfying and emotional conclusion. The addition of an extensive post-game content provides a surprising depth, exploring character relationships and adding layers to the overall story.
The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails surprises and captivates players with its charming characters, engaging gameplay, and a narrative that balances lightheartedness with emotional depth. While it may have a few pacing issues and abrupt plot developments, the game's overall experience is a testament to its impact as a Trails spinoff. For fans of the series and newcomers alike, Nayuta's adventure is a journey worth taking, offering a memorable and impactful experience.

The Legend of Nayuta is a game I have been curious about for many years before I got to play it. I knew about its existence for a while and heard it was unconnected to mainline Trails but for a long time, only shoddy fan translations existed. So I was pretty excited back in 2021 when NISA announced they would be localizing Nayuta and considering it was the only Trails game I had not played yet at the time, I was the most excited for it despite my understanding of why localizing Crossbell or Reverie is a bigger deal (but that's another discussion for another time).
The wait was long but this month I finally got my hands on Nayuta and it's a great game despite there being a few things I was eh about. For starters, I just absolutely love the art style and direction. With upscaled textures and a sharp resolution, it felt like I was playing a remaster of an old Dreamcast game from 21 years ago with its HD low poly visuals. So it's even more impressive that Falcom managed to cram its visuals in a tiny PSP back in its original release in 2012.
And not only the visuals feel like I was playing a remastered Dreamcast game, but the gameplay complements that nostalgic feel. Nayuta is listed as an action RPG, similar to Falcom's other games like Ys and Zwei. But personally, it felt like one of those old action platformer games from the early 2000s. There are RPG elements like leveling up, increasing your stats, and doing side quests but the meat of Nayuta's gameplay boils down to playing the stages.
Each stage in Nayuta is when the titular character alongside a fairy named Noi must reach the "end point" to complete the stage. Along the way, there are various elements to attack either with Nayuta's sword abilities or Noi's arts (which are essentially elemental magic spells just like in mainline Trails). As the game progresses, Nayuta will also unlock craft abilities to help him progress the game's platforming challenges.
Speaking of challenges, each stage features three purple crystals to destroy, a treasure chest for new equipment or artifacts, and a mission objective, which is an additional goal to achieve such as defeating a certain amount of enemies or only taking a certain amount of hits or falling off the stage a certain amount of times. Doing these extra challenges will increase your rating for the stage with stars and the more stars you collect, the more abilities and boosts Nayuta will gain with his sword, platforming, and combo streak as well as new equipment.
Nayuta's gameplay is fairly simple in design but with the RPG elements as well as adding on new platforming abilities that even encourage replaying a stage to collect all of the stars, the gameplay never got stale once in my 40 hours within the game. However despite how different the gameplay is from mainline Trails, it certainly shares a lot of story beats with its structure and format. After all it is a Trails game and many people play Trails for the story.
Nayuta is a miniature version of what to expect in Trails and while it never reaches the highs for each mainline arc, it's rather grand considering it's a standalone game with currently no direct connections to the rest of Trails. The premise of the story is about Nayuta, a student studying astrology who goes home to Remnant Island for summer vacation and soon discovers a second world called Lost Heaven and unravels its mysteries that are tied to Nayuta's own world, including the belief that his world is a "flat earth" and it's possible to fall off from the "edge of the world".
Nayuta is formatted similarly to other Trails games with story progression, NPCs update frequently even if the amount of NPCs comes nowhere close to any other Trails game, there are quests to complete that you get from a mailbox and even quests you can only do in new game plus. And of course, talking to certain NPCs at the right time will advance the story.
The plot points, overall, while it's a fairly predictable story with no plot twists that are truly mind-blowing, it's still a very well-executed and focused narrative for the most part. Which may be a pro to some people as Trails games are often criticized for their excessive "bloat". It sets that grand multi-world adventure rather well without overstaying its welcome. That said, while Nayuta does a lot very well, there are a few things that could be improved.
For starters, I found some of the major characters lacking. One of Falcom's biggest strengths is character-focused narrative that especially shines in the Trails series. So it was rather a bit disappointing when not even the best characters (in my opinion of course) get a semblance of development, which is Creha, Signa, and Noi, pales in comparison to what Falcom has written in the past. Granted, it may be a bit unfair to compare a single game, which has far less text and character interaction than any other Trails game that is known for its interconnection (meaning you will see many of these characters in multiple games). However, it's a Trails game in name still, so serving that comparison may be difficult.
Not to mention, I especially found characters such as Lyra especially disappointing. Considering how prominent she's featured in key art of Nayuta, you would think she would have an important role in the game. But it turns out she has no agency or motivations on her own and practically exists only as an extension to Nayuta by simply being an immature love interest to him. I believe the story of Nayuta would play almost exactly the same without Lyra and that's rather disappointing to say for a Falcom game considering I never felt like this for any of the major Trails characters.
Plus, I found the ending of Nayuta to be rather sloppily executed. It just pretty much made the entire final chapter pointless in terms of stakes and sacrifices since Falcom really wanted to push for a squeaky clean perfect "happily ever after" ending. I think I would probably feel better about the ending if they combined the major plot events in the final chapter and the after-story as one huge finale. Because a second "ending" that is basically a reprise of the final ending just feels weird.
Besides a few weak characters who struggled to land the ending moments well, Nayuta is a game that has incited a lot of childhood wonder and memories in me from the PS2 and Dreamcast days, from its charming, vivid low poly graphics, the simple but yet always evolving action platforming gameplay and its concise but epic plotline. Whether or not Nayuta is connected to the rest of Trails, we can have plenty of discussions about that due to its many parallels to the series. However, it's an excellent entry as a standalone game without any requirement of playing the rest of Trails and it nails the balance between being simple and fun and complex and thought-provoking just right.

This was a title I was curious about after getting into the Trails series. It was something I saw listed on the Wikipedia page of releases but yet for a large series of interconnected games with one long continuous plot thread, this one seemed to be passed over by a lot of the fans in discussion and was even named differently.
Well that's because The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails is a spin-off that seems to be at this moment (having played the first 5 Trails games) something that has a couple of references to Trails more than anything else. Mishy can be found as a strange creature and the Herschel surname of Nayuta and his family is reused for another character from the Cold Steel games from what I'm aware of. Basically, what I'm saying is despite this carrying the Trails name, it is very much an independent spin off and it's narrative should probably be judged without the expectations of it possibly maybe being intertwined with the mainline Trails series as a whole.
As a spin-off game, The Legend of Nayuta takes the opportunity to change up the gameplay and mix and match a few different elements. You have the RPG elements of leveling up and getting stronger etc with Remnant Isle being your core base of operations where most of the traditional Trails elements can be found. You can cook, take on requests including hidden requests, and meet a bunch of characters whose dialogue changes throughout the story to react to the different events that happen. It's a nice quaint place that feels very homely but it is also the whole of the traditional RPG side of things.
The bulk of the game is actually spent in this mysterious other world where things have gone haywire due to Zechst taking the gears needed to keep this place functioning correctly so Nayuta and Terra's administrator Noi team up to stop him by visiting each of the four continents and freeing the trapped guardians. It's here where we place the action stages where you run through stages taking on platforming challenges and fighting enemies through action based combat. Nayuta fights using his sword and can jump and dodge roll out of the way or guard while Noi has arts that can be used and swapped through as you unlock more equipment slots. For me, despite having a decent amount of things to unlock for the combat, it always felt very shallow, like it was lacking a punch to it. A lot of the enemies felt like I was cutting through paper and once I unlocked the gear spin ability I was literally steamrolling through enemies. The stages themselves are also very short and can be blasted through in a minute or so. They're designed this way on purpose because you can earn 3 stars through multiple objectives so if you miss anything it's quick enough to replay it and find what you're missing. The 3 objectives will always include finding the 3 large purple crystals, the hidden chest (or two chests in the larger two part stages) and a specialised objective different for each stage (defeat X enemies, fall less than X times etc). These stars can be used to further expand Nayuta's abilities through training on Remnant Isle. The other reason these stages are so short is because each stage has four variants - one based on each season. Two can be played through in the main story, one in the after story chapter and the final one unlocks on new game plus. The different seasons vary the stages up slightly but when you're playing through these stages multiple times trying to 100% them, it does start feeling awfully repetitive and draining.
Boss fights are the highlight here. Aside from a couple of really simple ones, boss fights will actually require a little bit of strategy to find when a weak point is available to be hit. The final boss and one of the after story bosses in particular are really cool and spectacular and were more like what I was hoping for from the game. Once the guardians have been freed, each one gives Noi an ability to help Nayuta out and explore previously inaccessible areas of stages. You get stuff like being able to swing to floating gear points or use a shield to traverse through harmful areas and they're pretty fun to use.
The story itself is alright. The characters believe the world is flat and random parts of large debris fall from the sky and people believe that's from Lost Heaven so there's some good stuff that ends up explaining what all that is actually about. I really enjoyed Noi's character growth going from hating humans and being extremely wary of them to growing alongside Nayuta and coming to love people and wanting to protect. It's pretty simple but also effective. Everything else kinda fell a little flat for me though. Like I liked Cygna and Lyra and Eartha but I can't really say I was ever truly attached to them in a meaningful way which was unfortunate. With bouncing between the two worlds so often and neither side having a lot of depth to it, I don't think the game manages to build a deep connection between the player and the characters, definitely not in a way like the namesake it borrows from does.
I don't think The Legend of Nayuta does anything I would call outright bad but I think it lacks the depth to reach the potential it has. It's an enjoyable experience with an incredible soundtrack, and is probably one of the most this is alright games I've played.