By now, you’re probably tired of hearing the word “souls” in a game title. It must be another one of those games that take after the infamous Dark Souls! Surprisingly, the upcoming indie RPG Young Souls by developer 1P2P isn’t following that trend.
Through its unique art style that resembles comic books and cartoons, we experience an adventure through the determination of two young siblings. However, don’t let this description fool you, as Young Souls carries an action-driven narrative and additive mechanics that have my attention.
While playing a preview build of Young Souls, I was able to get a sneak peek of the narrative with some slice-of-life offerings, along with the chance to dive into the dungeon crawling and combat. When it comes to gameplay, there’s more depth than your typical indie beat ’em up as it contains a wide variety of customization options, complex combat mechanics, and side activities to partake in.
First, we are introduced to orphaned twins Tristan and Jenn, fighting side by side in what appears to be a post-apocalyptic version of their world. After failing a battle against a giant enemy, they find themselves transported to the past before disaster strikes their city. The two end up in their bedroom, waking up to what seems to be a typical day. The twins are living with a work-a-holic professor, who has now become their adoptive father. I noticed that the twins have a potty mouth, especially Tristan, as he drops the f-bomb every other sentence. However, the relationship the professor shares with the twins is lighthearted and genuine, with the twins telling the professor not to forget to eat his meals and take care of his aging body. One day, they discover that the professor is missing. To their surprise, a strange portal in his laboratory has opened, revealing a mysterious world of goblins who threaten their very existence.
Without hesitation, Tristan and Jenn take up a pair of mysteriously readily available weapons and armor outside of the portal and step in, and this is where the combat happens. Interestingly, there’s a local co-op option, allowing you and a friend to team up. Of course, the game can also be played in single-player, with the option to switch between the siblings at any time. I wasn’t able to test out the co-op mode in this preview, but I am curious how the enemies will be balanced and scaled if you have two players in a dungeon. Playing solo allowed for two different builds to be utilized simultaneously, having Tristan be the tanker brawler while Jenn is the nimble DPS assassin.
Combat has some depth, especially for a beat ’em up. You have a dodge, parry, and a whole slew of badass combos you can string up on the goblin baddies. Weapons and armor can be upgraded and looted from enemies and chests, making perfect sense for a dungeon crawler. However, the blocks and parries felt a little unpolished due to a very inconsistent timing window. Hopefully, the developers can hash that out in time for the full release.
Young Souls packs a lot of promise and color for a narrative-driven game that also identifies as a beat ’em up dungeon crawler. The fluid, action-packed presentation combined with the slice-of-life elements made me feel like I was playing through a comic book. It’s interestingly already out on Stadia but still has no definitive release date other than Fall 2021 on other platforms. I can’t wait to check out the full release to see how the story is fleshed out and beat up some more green baddies with the edgy pair of twins. Tristan might want to swear a bit less, though.
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