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    Young Souls Review – An Almost Perfect Brawler

    Developed By: 1P2P

    Published By: The Arcade Crew

    Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox, Nintendo Switch

    Reviewed On: PC

     

    When I first watch the Young Souls trailer, it rekindled my inner kid spirit of my younger days playing my first Double Dragon, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Streets Of Rage. Portraying a lovely type of 2.5D stylized art style like something straight out of a Nickelodeon cartoon, battling Goblins in an ancient underground dungeon.

    Despite there being no online co-op in this game, only local co-op – I am pleased to say that this brawler delivered as promised but lacked a bit more aspects that may enhance the overall experience even further.

    Gameplay

    If you’re a barbarian looking for pure brawling action, you’ve come to the right place. Young Souls is a linear side-scrolling action, wielding medieval weapons to beat up goblins running across the screen from left to the right. This experience can be made even simpler with an accessible menu of auto-blocking, difficulty settings, adjustable enemy health, attack speed, and many more.

    Once I got a hang of blocking or a perfectly timed parry as well as stamina-reducing dodging, there is nothing else to add on to the mechanics I needed to beat the game in its entirety.

    As I progress through the dungeons, the enemies do get faster and bigger, more difficult to defeat, and trickier to approach. But there are no penalties for dying, so I can just rinse and repeat by teleporting back into the area. On the contrary, most boss fights felt less challenging and memorable compared to the normal enemies as they are all still falling under the predictable brackets in their attack patterns.
    Overall gameplay feels like in a loop even though there are short moments of reprieve such as traps in the area, dragon mounting, vase throwing, and ghost enemies type. On top of that, the gameplay loop in Young Souls never feels boring because it incorporates a beautiful art style, atmospheric sounds, and a simple mechanic that tends to make it less draggy and fun.
    When revisiting a dungeon, you will find the same respawned normal enemies, except the bosses, which is a shame, as I would expect some kind of more challenging enemies, bosses, or scenarios to get better new loot or resources. Hence neglecting the need to backtrack into those areas.
    It is my opinion, however, that everything outside of dungeon combat is just a decor, with no sidequests and a limited selection of armor and weapon designs that are mostly based on the base levels and without any sense of rarity to give a more variety of stats.
    Exploration in towns as a whole is barebones mainly for sneaker purchasing, junk selling, and gym increasing stats minigames that are only accessible based on the number of level up you attain in the dungeon. A level-up only occurs during sleep after a long, hard battle to accumulate points as a means of leveling up, however, just this mechanic alone felt unnecessary to me since the days in the game do not progress unless you venture deeper into the dungeon.

    Other than that, there are noticeable bugs of UI equipment disappearing or turning up janky, missing music, mounting dragon covers the teleporting cutscene, and characters’ body tends to run slide towards the door as the camera pans left.

    Art And Animation

    This is as top-notch design as it gets with the stylized art style surrounding the environments of town and dungeon in a consistent manner. More impressive is Jen and Tristan’s expression during combat and cutscenes which exudes a rebellious phase charm like how a kid says no to their parents for the first time and embarks on a journey of being grounded facing the wall while rolling their eyes. In combat, some enemies do have a very exaggerated reactive look on their face when they get hit and that also adds a wee bit more personality to the game.

    Story

    The story starts strong with the near ending phase of the story boasting a dreadful scenario, but things quickly deteriorate into linear storytelling focusing more on the Goblins banter than the human counterpart. Despite the fact, the main characters Jenn and Tristan- have a single-minded motivation of saving their adoptive father, a professor from the clutches of the evil Goblins. Besides the starting point, all I could remember are the profanities shared between the orphan kids while the Goblins are having a contentful gentleman banter of their world domination antics at the end of each phase. The humans in town did not feel as dynamic as the goblins, delivering only one or two generic lines throughout the gameplay and most helpful if asked about the goblins themselves which is a one-sided affair.

    Things do pick up near or at the end of the game, but the narrative process throughout leaves me feeling less invested by the end.

    Sound

    Let me get this right off the bat, there is absolutely no voice acting in this game. Everything in Young Souls is carried by the atmospheric sound effects, texts and tunes assembled by either a synthwave or Fmod that gives it a very fresh cinematic feel of depth.

    While I have no complaints whatsoever in the sound effects department as the sound perfectly hinges the doors, attack sounds, downing a boss, blocking, and parrying – all in an echoey satisfying atmosphere. Unlike the art style, the music falls short on deaf ears under a similar tone of depth; giving it a similar vibe of a dreadful Monday morning blues of melancholic tunes in boss fights, town, and dungeon. While each boss fight does have some level of different varied fast-paced soundtracks – it was hardly noticeable for me due to the similar tone it brings. There are other times when the atmosphere outside combat does tend to shy away, and there are also times when a bug causes the tunes to be completely muted during and outside combat.

     

    What I Liked

    • Solid brawling gameplay with accessible menus and teleportation.
    • Beautiful Art and Graphics.
    • Deep Echoey Sound Effects.

    What I Wished Was Better

    • A similar tone of cinematic designed music.
    • Linear one-sided storytelling focuses mainly on and about Goblins rather than the worldbuilding in general.
    • Barebones town exploration – beautiful but empty with stagnant NPC’s with lack of activities and sidequests.
    • There are a limited number of weapons and armor, with not many stats variety.
    • Bugs that are not game-breaking but noticeable.
    • Less memorable boss fights and interest to revisit the dungeon areas.

    Verdict

    In terms of gameplay value, Young Souls swings a home run in that department alone. Suffice to say I got what I wanted from Young Souls, a condensed fun brawler that never gets old throughout. But if you are looking for a bit more storytelling, worldbuilding, RPG mechanics, and variety in equipment, I’m afraid they are just a few minor caveats in the mix.

    If those things above do give you a mix of feelings in terms of getting a full-on action RPG experience, I would personally recommend a wait for sales purchase. Otherwise, you’d have a good time with eight hours of brawling. Just don’t be surprised if you experience some frustration along the way.

    Final Score – 7.5/10

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    PUN TART
    PUN TART
    He is actually very shy, introvert but no choice, have to go out to buy games. He likes food and food likes him. He somehow manage to find a job with the right time accommodate to gaming. He has a very short attention span, therefore has to finish a game fast or else a simple pun can distract him for the entire day. Yes a Pun, he loves puns as much as he loves games; easily distracted, whichever comes next.

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