I do enjoy a good side-scroller. Streets of Rage 4, Hollow Knight, Indivisible, Tails of Iron, Battletoads – there have been some great ones in recent years. Whether you’re beating the hell out of enemies or spending time upgrading equipment, they offer a nice change of pace from all the open world titles on the market. Young Souls doesn’t do anything particularly different. However, it manages to do it so well that you never get bored of slaughtering the goblins.
Young Souls follows the story of siblings Jenn and Tristan. They’re outcasts and orphans, living with a professor who took them in a year prior to the events of the game. They’re your typical teenagers: angry with the world but unsure why, and unwilling to go to school or accept any kind of authority. Even their relationship with the professor seems strained through no fault of his own. It is only when he’s kidnapped that Jenn and Tristan realise what he means to them. From there, the two unruly heroes do whatever it takes to get him back.
Young Souls: Rich combat
Combat is basic to begin with. You start with a sword and shield to battle goblins and other creatures. As you delve deeper into the parallel world, new weapons and abilities can be unlocked, as well as fancy armour that offers certain buffs. Fighting feels wonderful, thanks to responsive attacks that are felt with every blow you make. Throughout the dungeons, you’ll encounter a varied amount of creatures to do battle with. Some are pretty easy to defeat, but others can take a fair amount of skill to overcome. In some instances, I found parrying and dodging a little tricky. There’s a bit of unbalancing when it comes to certain enemies, but for the majority of time these systems work well.
Young Souls splits its time by having you journey through dungeons and fighting a plethora of enemies and spending the spoils of war in your town. Jenn and Tristan can go to the gym to improve their stats, sell unwanted items at the pawn shop, and level up at home. Most of the fun you’ll be having is in the dungeons. While there is a nice selection of enemies, some of the actual levels feel repetitive. It doesn’t affect the enjoyment of fighting, but Young Souls would benefit from a bit of a shake up. It is at its best when you’re playing around with different armour and weapons to take on various bosses, mixing up your loadouts to try and compliment each other.
Fighting with friends
The option to play in co-op means that journeying through the dungeons is more fun with another. When playing alone, you can switch between the siblings, but teaming up with a friend is a better way to play. As satisfying as the combat is, the visuals are just as pleasant. The pastel colour palette and variety in creatures, along with neat animations make Young Souls a treat on the eyes. While characters don’t speak, the writing is excellent. The twins have a great relationship, akin to most siblings. They may joke around, but it’s clear they love each other.
This also extends to the Dwarvengobben. Trying to rule over the goblins takes its toll, and it’s often funny hearing them talking to each other. They bumbling fools in every sense of the word, but there’re some great moments where I laughed whilst playing. The story kept me hooked, and I genuinely cared about what was happening to the professor as well as seeing his relationship unfold with the twins.
Young Souls is a great side-scrolling RPG that blends satisfying hack-and-slash with an engaging story. Some of the levels can feel repetitive, but Uppercut Games counters that by mixing up enemy types and grand boss fights. The writing is brilliant, and the visuals throughout are a pleasure to look at. If you’re after something that is both fun to play and filled with surprisingly deep RPG elements, I strongly advise you give Young Souls a go.
Deep RPG elements
Some dungeons are dull
Parrying is unbalanced at times