Jenn and Tristan are two teenagers who find themselves suddenly abandoned and without a family until a good-hearted scientist adopts and brings them into his home settled within a small port town. Life in Portsbourgh for Jenn and Tristan proves uneventful. Uneventful, that is, until they uncover a portal to another world which threatens the very existence of life on Earth as we know it.
…(An) exciting new tale about life, family, adventure, and saving the world: Young Souls. Created by 1P2P, Young Souls draws you in with its distinct art direction but keeps you playing via a deeply narrative-driven RPG beat-em-up that features clever crossover mechanics. Young Souls features precise gameplay mechanics wrapped inside a profound story with unforgettable characters and intense combat.
Young Souls game play is definitely a shinning factor in my first impressions of the game. It’s hard to screw up beat ’em up side scrollers (but hey, people have in the past) the mechanics are pretty simple and can get stale but Young Souls not only executes polished mechanics but introduces does some neat concepts that keeps the game play fresh for the player.
Since the game revolves around twin siblings as the protagonists, it allows for an co-op option. You can sit down and play a nice side scrolling game with people- with each player taking control over a twin, picking and choosing their style of play/gear/roll out. Additionally, if you’re playing the game solo (aint no shame!) Young Souls provides you with options- you can play with the AI – which is relatively decent- or use the cross over mechanic.
That’s right, if you dont trust the AI you’re able to play as either one of the twins by switching them out- so if you have a twin geared for long range or short range, as the player you can switch either out and ensure that their move set is executed correctly (so you dont run into Kingdom Hearts 1 Donald Duck problems) The game play feels fluid, which is a particularly beneficial, when you’re trying to clear the screen of waves of enemies. I didnt feel lost while mid-battle, it was easy to keep track of the playable character, figure out enemy hit boxes, and build up combos.
While the battle mechanics are fun, what I particularly liked is that the game is broken down into two portions. To clarify, the twins are on a calendar system- like the Persona series- and each day is broken into day and evening. During the day portion of the game this is where players are able to pick and choose the twin’s outfits (outfits, with the exception of shoes, do not provide additional stat boosts. They are they for aesthetics) go shopping for items in town, craft items, ect. Basically, the day is the errand portion of the game play, the player ensuring that the twins have everything they need before they roll out into the evening portion of the game: dungeon crawling.
The evening portion of the game is the dungeon crawl. Young Souls has a very large dungeon system, over 70 instances, where players need to clear each level before moving deeper into the dungeon. Deep you are in the dungeon, the harder it gets, the better loot dropsm, and the closer the twins are to resolving the over arcing objective to the game.
Each dungeon level is broken down into exploration, mini boss, and level boss.
The devs made a very clear point during our demo time that Young Soul dungeons are not meant to be one shot- they want players to come through each level and grind out some experience and gear. Players are meant to master each dungeon, instead of blowing through them. The level design was intended for players to take their time- meaning, it’s common to stay in the same dungeon for a period of days.
What I found specially interesting about the dungeon crawl was that the twins did not earn experience as they defeated enemies- it didnt seem it was possible to level up while exploring. Rather, you go into the dungeon with a set level, defeat enemies, and when the player calls it quits for the day (or is defeated) and goes to rest that is when the experience earned during that dungeon crawl is released. I personally like the idea of having an earned experience pool at the end of a stage because it keeps the level to scale as the player is clearing the area, it prevents over saturated stats and preserves the challenge of the game play
The animation in Young Souls is fresh and fun- it looks and feels like it was ripped from a comic strip. The colors for the game definitely portray a fun video game artist design- players are meant to have fun. The 2D animation compliments the world building in the game, since the back drop is that of a modern day fantasy realm. I love that each realm- human cities and goblin dungeons- have their own distinct design. Its easy to tell where you’re, making it easier for the player to navigate areas.
The story presented in the demo can be considered standard- the twins were abandoned and then picked up by a loving scientist. He raises the twins as his own in an uneventful town- the scientist servers as the plot device. He brings the protagonists into the spot light, and then is kidnapped, serving as the objective for the entire plot of the game. The twins must rescue their adoptive father figure from a bunch of goblins- why the goblins kidnapped the scientist is unknown. While dungeon crawling the twins looks for clues as to why the story is unfolding around them. Young Souls boast itself a deeply narrative game, but that deep narrative is not seen throughout the first impression demo- then again, this could be simple set up for a much more complex story line that is further down the game. Hard to say with the demo time I was provided, the story does have the possibility of improving
With a high dungeon count and may different load outs for your character- lots of weapons and armor to grind- Young Souls has a the potential for a high replay ability. I imagine a few gamers will dump close to triple digit numbers into Young Souls as they try to plat the game. Young Souls seems like it would offer a few rounds of play by offering tons of items that will need crafting and finding.