|Publisher||The Arcade Crew|
|Genre||Beat Em Up|
|Platforms||PC (reviewed) / PlayStation 4 / Xbox One / Nintendo Switch / PlayStation 5 / Xbox Series X|S / Google Stadia|
|Release Date||Aug 17, 2021|
Young Souls by 1P2P studio is a side-scrolling beat-em-up about two teenagers rescuing their adoptive guardian from an underground goblin threat. Players will scour the depths of the earth and find layer after layer of goblin territory, minions, and a variety of resources as they travel downward.
Language: The words in use are h**l, a*s, d**n, g*****n, s**t, and f**k. But there is a profanity filter, putting an asterisk on the letters like GUG does in their content guides.
Violence: The twins use swords, daggers, axes, and other melee weapons to smack goblins around. There’s no blood or gore, and upon defeat enemies will vanish in a poof of black smoke.
Spiritual Themes: The goblins believe in “the Stone”. There’s not a lot of description about their religion, but when infighting occurs, Dwarvengobben, the leader, will silence them, followed by their response, “I stand with the Stone ”.
Positive Themes: At first, the twins feel little connection to their guardian. The city’s inhabitants don’t view them kindly. They act rashly, and give no concern to themselves. But throughout their journey, they find their reason.
Jenn and Tristan wake up to their city in flames, and a giant drill monster proves too much for them. Rewind a few weeks back, the house is a mess and the professor is missing. His always-locked door is now open, and the twins enter to find a portal and a goblin. This goblin is a friend of the professor, and a rebel against the goblin monarchy. He acts as a guide to Jenn and Tristan as they plunge into the depths to defeat the goblin tyranny.
There are more allies to be had. Early on, a few more goblins gifted in making armor, weapons, potions, and accessories become available. The mayor of the city also knows what is going on, and helps by providing more objectives to find power stones, so the portal can reach deeper down into the Earth. Players can go to the thrift store to cash in junk for money, a shoe store provides modest drip with some useful stats and enchantments, and the local gym contains mini games which reward players with permanent, small stat boosts.
With all previously mentioned out of the way, Jenn and Tristan work their way through locked doors and set levels, each one different and providing something new to see behind the next door. I quickly realized that I wasn’t going through mindlessly generated levels, but a living, breathing world. Complimented by the visuals, part of the enjoyment came in discovery.
Sometimes a challenge room will come and these are easily the simplest I’ve seen in a game. Swinging axes with spike floors are the start, but they ramp up, eventually involving light sources in need of constant attention, and then lasers. A couple of times, the game gives a dragon to ride and fight alongside. I was really impressed with the dungeon requiring spectral weapons that could one-hit the enemies, but the players also can be one-hit KO’ed. There are optional dungeons with higher-level suggestions, and boss fights awarding the best weapons. Needless to say, Young Souls doesn’t lack variety or content.
“–Both beginners and experts can find a decent time with Young Souls.”
The rest of my enjoyment was found in the combat. I’m neither a stranger nor a hardened veteran of beat-em-ups, which is why I was surprised to find that both beginners and experts can find a decent time with Young Souls.
The game is built with co-op gameplay in mind. While the solo experience is easily manageable, playing alongside someone else is equally fun. Can someone else play along that wishes no hassle befall them? Then look no further than to the accessibility options. Players can choose between damage intake, speed, and automatic parry, along with a few more ways to simplify or exaggerate your time.
The armor and weapons offer some variety with play style and builds. Players can choose to be light, fast, and quick, or slower, but stronger and less likely to stagger. Equipment can come with ailment prevention, upgrades with better stats and unlockable bonuses, and effects such as poison or bleed.
Coming in less than ten hours to beat, I was not blown away, but I was happy to keep going once I got into Young Souls. For their first outing, 1P2P makes a strong impact and sets up a promising future.
The Bottom Line
Young Souls is a good, accessible beat-'em-up for all levels of players.