Being accepted by everyone is impossible, no matter what you do, how you look, or who you are. Unlike in fairy tales, there isn’t a secret love potion out there that can magically make someone love you in an instant. It’s the bitter truth, and unfortunately, there are some people out there that mock, look down upon, and even commit hate crimes on those that are different from them. Those that don’t “fit the mold” are often cast aside, get the label of “outcast,” and never get the love they deserve.
This is the central theme portrayed in Young Souls, the upcoming RPG beat ’em up from developer 1P2P and publisher The Arcade Crew. While I admit that I pictured the game to be another beat ’em up that lacked soul, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Young Souls ended up being my favorite game at PAX West 2019, and let me tell you why.
Young Souls will have players follow the narrative-driven story of two twin teenagers, Jenn and Tristan, who find themselves left behind without a family. Thankfully, they end up getting adopted by a scientist and move to a small port town of Portsbourgh. Both Jenn and Tristan find it to be bland and uneventful since they don’t seem to like to fit the status quo. They have loud personalities and sport unique looks that the rest of the townsfolk don’t necessarily approve of.
Things take an interesting turn once Jenn and Tristan explore their adopted father’s vacant laboratory and stumble upon a portal into another realm that threatens the very existence of life on Earth. With the risk of humanity coming to an end, it’ll be up to you, whether solo or with another player via drop-in, drop-out co-op, to save the world. During the day, players will live the life of a disrespected teenager, but at night, they will become a world-saving hero and delve deeper into the unusual dungeon-crawling realm without any praise. With the unique premise alone, and from what I played, this epic adventure will have you experience a touching and exciting tale — that’s written by Matthew Ritter, who’s best known for his work in The Walking Dead game series, and the Nova Phase graphic novels.
With that said, Young Souls will feature a dynamic day and night system. Instead of doing what most teens do during the day, like go to school, players will be cruising around with their Vespa and have the freedom to explore all that the small town has to offer. This is where the sort of slice of life or role-playing elements come into play as you can choose to do anything you’d like, whether it’s making sure not to skip leg day at the gym, hitting up the arcade, or getting stylish new outfits to rock.
Once the moon rises, however, it’s then time to be a hero. There’s going to be many ways for players to be the hero they want to be in Young Souls, as in just the demo build I played, there were tons of different weapons, spells, armor, and interestingly enough, magical shoes to choose from, and what’s important to note is that each piece of equipment had their unique stats, ranging from weight to elemental resistance traits. The in-depth level of equipment customization will make it so that players can create a character build that bests fit their playstyle — so for example, if they want to be a heavily-armored, beefy tank or an agile, fast-striking dual dagger-wielding hunter, they can do so depending on their equipment, which can be upgraded.
Equipment is going to be a massive factor in whether or not players survive the dungeons found in Young Souls. Expected to have more than 70 dungeons to hack, slash, and dodge through, which are going to be filled with enemies like swarms of grunts, and insane bosses, Young Souls will be a survival-of-the-fittest adventure, especially given how intense combat can be. Simply spamming attacks will only get players so far, knowing when and how to expertly dodge and attack will be vital for survival.
Players will want to keep on playing, not because of gameplay only, but also because of Young Souls’ vibrant and beautifully hand-drawn 2D art style that just screams for attention. While I try to steer clear from using the term “makes you feel like”, I will say that the distinct art style alone will make you feel like you’re a part of an immersive graphic novel.
There’s so much more to say I could say about Young Souls, but for now, I leave you with this: Young Souls is worth keeping on your radar. With Young Souls’ gripping premise, unique gameplay, and rad art style, I can’t wait to be reunited with the badass, rebellious twins, do a rebel yell, and bring the ruckus.
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