Young Souls Preview Impressions – A Beat ‘Em Up for the Modern Era

After exhaustive research — five minutes on Google — I’m fairly confident in stating that Young Souls’ Jenn and Tristan are the most badass twins ever portrayed in media (Tia and Tamara are a close second, Sister, Sister fans, so don’t @ me about it). I say this not because they’re fearless or uber-powerful, but because they manage to be badasses despite also being smart enough to know better. When confronted with a mysterious magic portal, they don’t charge through it without hesitation. Instead, Tristan very reasonably asks “What if crossing through this crazy portal thing kills us?”, to which Jenn replies “We’ll know if that’s the case pretty quick”. Then, they go through anyway. 

In French studio 1P2P’s debut title, you’ll guide these tough twins through dungeons a-plenty in search of their missing adoptive father, leveling up and collecting loot along the way. Young Souls’ combat is an interesting mashup of genres, featuring beat-em-up style set-pieces, but also including mechanics you’d expect from a Souls-like: dodge rolls, a stamina bar, parrying, and spellcasting. 

I was skeptical about a beat-em-up in 2021 — gaming has come a long way since Adam, Axel, and Blaze took on Mr. X back in the 90s — but the manner in which the more modern mechanics are integrated into the combat takes this old genre to new heights. No button-mashing allowed here; you’ll quickly find yourself surrounded and stabbed to death if you do naught but swing your sword. The enemies are aggressive, happily moving to flank you if you let them, and your block being uni-directional makes their tactics all the more deadly. 

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Goblins seem a generally happy folk — until you plant them on their butts

Foes in Young Souls also appear to follow the same rules as the player: they have the ability to roll and block, and even have comparable health and damage values. Because of this, defeating them feels less like you’re mowing down hapless goombas, and more like you’re battling worthy adversaries — making victory all the sweeter when it finally comes. The one boss battle I got to try certainly put all of my hard-earned dodge-rolling skills to the test. 

Young Souls has brains as well as brawn, with the writing looking as solid as the gameplay. The story (or at least the part I was able to glimpse in the preview) seems fairly well written, and I chuckled a few times at some of the dialogue. It’s not Steinbeck, but given the low bar currently set for video game writing, I have to say I was impressed. The twins are likable in a grumpy-teenager sort of way, and the game gives you some flexibility with how they respond in certain conversations, allowing for limited role-playing.

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Confession: I lied to The Professor

I’m definitely looking forward to taking the twins on more dungeon dives when Young Souls releases on PC, PS4, XB1, and Switch sometime in Q4 of 2021. If you really can’t wait to play it, you’ve got two choices:

  • A demo of Young Souls will be available Oct. 1 – 7 thanks to Steam Next Fest. This preview spans the game’s opening battles and will be accessible from the game’s main Steam page.
  • Young Souls has actually been out since August on Stadia, so you can always give Google just a little more control over your life — or you could hold out a little longer. Your choice.

1P2P co-founder Jérôme Fait was nice enough to answer a few of our questions about Young Souls, so head on over to our interview with him if you’d like to learn more about the game and the folks behind it!

Looking forward to Young Souls? Are you a twin with a cool story about twin telepathy to share? Let us know in the comments, we promise we won’t tell any secret government testing facilities about you.

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Unabashed FromSoftware fanboy still learning to take his time with games (and everything else, really). The time he doesn't spend on games is spent on music, books, or occasionally going outside.

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