Four more days until Halloween and you now have a strong list of games to keep yourself entertained while the kids are trick-or-treating. Time to break out the 2D brawler and smash your through a different kind of monster. Young Souls brings some fresh meat to the party, offering up a modern art style with some angsty teenage moods you know are going to come with quips and snappy comebacks. Load it up and lock yourself in for some fun rides on Day 27 of our Halloween Game Reviews.
What is Young Souls?
Young Souls is a new game released this month, combining the best of your 2D brawlers with RPG mechanics and storytelling. It follows two teenage siblings, Jen and Tristan, who really have zero foxes left in this world. They are orphans and they have the rep for causing trouble around town. Jen and Tristan have pretty much nailed the ‘us against the world’ attitude and TBH, they really don’t care.
The only person they do care about (beyond each other) is the Professor, and he has disappeared. Looks like his studies have landed him in his own trouble. Jen and Tristan are willing to help the one cool guy in town. What they didn’t realise is the new adventure will take them straight to the Goblin Realm. What’s starts off as a rescue mission has suddenly turned into a WTF adventure.
Quick note: This game comes with a M17+ rating due to drug reference, fantasy violence, and strong language. Personally, I’m fine with our 15-year-old playing Young Souls but I don’t think the style suits our 12-year-old and it is definitely inappropriate for the 8-year-old. To put it bluntly, I want to keep this game for EG Dad and myself. Why yes, I do want to play video games on date night. Perfect!
Double the Gameplay
If you’re looking to crank out a game with your gaming buddy, Young Souls is a fantastic local co-op choice. The primary gameplay is side-scrolling hack-n-slash. It kind of had a Rayman look and feel to it but with more of the satisfying crunchy hits. Don’t get me wrong; there is an element of adventure and discovery with this game. Jen and Tristan need to solve the mystery of the Professor’s disappearance. But what this game does best is give you something to punch in a fun cartoon-like fashion.
Young Souls is also a dungeon crawler, though not in the typical format you may be used to. As you journey into the Goblin Realm, you will find various items and clues to the story connecting this weird little realm with the ‘real world’. Each quest takes place over a day, allowing Jen and Tristan to rest and recover after each battle. This is where you level up and enhance your skill-set before taking on the next round.
The real appeal comes from the tag-team effort between the siblings. If you are playing solo, you can easily swap between Jen and Tristan to take advantage of special moves or weapons, while the other has a quick rest. However, I strongly recommend finding a friend to play with because when you use both characters together, it creates this beautiful frenzy of action and oomph! Jen and Tristan start off as equally matched characters but as you progress with the game, there is plenty of advantage in diversification. Make one a beefy tank while the other is light on their feet. Use the variation and give a double-blow attack!
Jumping the Veil Between Worlds
Young Souls also has a strong RPG element to the game. While most of the action takes place in the Goblin Realm, Jen and Tristan also have some unfinished business in the real world (no matter how much they want to avoid it). In the downtime, the siblings can explore the small town and learn more about the people from other NPCs. There are some side-quests and objectives to help advance the story (which are definitely worth doing), however, the real benefit comes from improving your gear and stats in the Happy Fit gym in town. Special workouts through mini-games help improve strength, resistance, and stamina for the ‘real’ battles in the Goblin Realm. It’s not a new idea but Young Souls has added some finesse when blending the motives of one world with the actions of another.
They Look Innocent Enough
Many parents may be fooled by the cartoon graphics used in Young Souls. And it really does carry a Troll Hunters or Cartoon Network vibe with it. The muted color palette gives it a slightly grungy feel that sets the mood for the unlikely teen heroes. The character designs themselves are really stunning in both detail and personality. They stand out as individuals but you wouldn’t be surprised seeing them walk down the street (even as cartoon characters).
If you think the art is gorgeous, wait until you hear the audio! The soundtrack is a perfect match to the game, especially with the sound effects during battle scenes. When you bring it together with some weapon feedback, Young Souls gives a definite immersive experience to the game. Pay attention to the background noise as you move through the Goblin Realm. There are some beautiful little touches that are as much about scene-setting as the artwork itself.
One final thing to note: Young Souls is currently available only on Stadia. Now, I had not played any games through the Stadia platform prior to this. There is a free month trial with Stadia and I found it to be a great opportunity to test out the game streaming service. Might be worth your while doing the same to check out Young Souls while you’re waiting for it to land on other platforms. And what better way to pass the time than smacking a few goblin heads together!
Young Souls is currently available on Google Stadia and scheduled for release on Steam, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One in Fall 2021. No compensation was received for this review; for either Young Souls or Google Stadia. For updates, head to the official website here.
Score: 4 out of 5 Happy Fit Gym memberships