Young Souls review by jeuxvideo.com

After entertaining a handful of players on the Stadia platform for a while, Young Souls is coming to consoles and PC. This is a colorful beat’em up/RPG created by the young French studio 1P2P, for which this is the first project. And by accident, the team has taken the bull by the horns, with an ambitious art direction and a combat system that is both rich and easy to learn. All alone or with a friend, in local co-op. So what is it worth? Here is our verdict.

The test was carried out on a PC. Young Souls is also available on PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Stadia.

Like the combat system, the world of Young Souls, in addition to its apparent simplicity, hides treasures waiting to be discovered. And that’s good, because the daily life of Jenn and Tristan – two heroes – seems very banal and boring at the beginning of the game. What is the point of going to school and supporting other students? But young people will discover a pink pillar: for years, under their feet, the city of goblins actually thrives. Worse, their foster father, the Professor, has been kidnapped, and of course we must help him. This man knew the truth, and his research didn’t seem to go over well with the underground beings. So Jenn and Tristan must travel deep into the Earth to find a scientist and put an end to the goblin revenge project in the process. The key word for achieving this is: fight, fight and fight again.

Dungeons and goblins

Even if the script is quite important in Young Souls (with rather pleasant writing and very beautiful cinematics), it is the action phases that come to the fore first of all. After about an hour of entry, the player will enter the Moon Portal, a passage leading to the goblin city. But before arriving at the throne room where the professor is being held… you will have to find three artifacts and explore four dungeons in total. Precious items will be used to enhance the power of the portal and further dive into the depths. More specifically, each of the dungeons here is a sequence of short levels where you’ll have to connect areas filled with enemies, with the added bonus of a few rare platforming phases. And it won’t be easy. Just because the levels are quite demanding at times – we’ll come back to this topic later – and especially because the dungeons aren’t limited to a simple straight line. You will often come across large forks where you can choose one path over the other. But don’t worry, we’re clearly far from the maze. The idea is to bring variety and exploration into the lobbies of the action phases, which remain very linear.

Pay-per-view action

So in Young Souls, 95% of the time you’ll be moving from left to right to defeat a lot of enemies, in the purest beat’em up tradition (as in Streets of Rage 4, for example). If you ever ask yourself the question: no, the title doesn’t offer any side missions other than roads and minor treasures to be found in dungeons, often containing the most valuable pieces of equipment. So with a formula like this, we expect fights to send a block, and here, of course, it does. Encounters in Young Souls are fast-paced, easy to follow, and very enjoyable.When making shields, light and heavy weapons speak at the expense of fists. Success based primarily on playing with two heroes. On the sidelines of the local multiplayer mode, where everyone controls Jenn or Tristan, the game offers to change characters at any point in the battle – you will only have to wait a few moments before repeating the operation. It is enough to use the talents of one or the other and give a good impetus to the whole. If one of the characters dies, you will need a little time to revive him.

Young Souls – We make some goblins suffer (Gameplay)

Especially with this Young Souls Hero talents are fully customizable, thanks to the role component. In this way, it will be possible to ensure, on the one hand, a heavy build with heavy armor and two-handed weapons (considering that the weight of the equipment affects the speed of movement), and on the other hand, a two-handed blade with light barriers. Without forgetting the importance of accessories, weapons or items that can be equipped in addition to the main blade, such as a bow or bombs, which open the way to other additions. In general, it is very pleasant to use and adapt your strategy according to the enemies present on the ground, which is all the more important at advanced difficulty levels. However, the game doesn’t offer an infinity of possibilities on the equipment side, due to the four types of weapons that are “only” available (but nonetheless have very different bonuses and abilities). As such, most players will get the heavy/light duo. It’s a shame. We would like more on this subject. Please note that the characteristics of weapons and heroes can be improved with various items and experience.

But not this detail will spoil your pleasure. Because in addition to the choice of equipment, Young Souls fights are mostly successful. More precisely, we enjoyed each of the weapons, in particular, thanks to the feel of the impacts, which gives a very good feeling. Mandalas that can also toss an opponent into the air where you can continue your combo, or knock them off a wall. To do this, you will have to use the most powerful techniques, such as a charged attack or your special power. The latter depends on the level of your mana bar, which fills up when you hit an enemy. The icing on the cake: this power changes depending on weapons, melee attacks, ranged magic, and even summoning allies. As such, it’s a very important resource to keep an eye on, as is stamina, which allows heroes to perform multiple rolls (their rolls are based on level logic, not any energy level). There is also a shield block, parry, throwing objects in the face. While paying attention to its placement, which is crucial here – and which may still lack precision – with this 2D-3D mix.

Demanding and accessible

As you may have guessed by now, combat in Young Souls is “easy to learn but hard to master”, as they say in the middle. And besides this in hard difficulty modes, the action phases reveal their depth. In Challenge, for example, each hero will have only one chance to revive a character who has fallen in battle. In “Expert” you simply will not have the right to make a mistake. All this will push you to polish all your approaches and pieces of equipment, paying attention to one last important detail: the health of the hero, which grows when he is not on the field (but it is also impossible not to restore his entire life). By the way, keep in mind that you will also not be able to reuse healing potions if they are recharged. The same for accessories. Tons of settings to always keep an eye on and well thought out never disappoint. Another good point.

Mostly : you can change the difficulty level at any time, even in the middle of a fight. Something to make it harder when you feel lacking on that side, or reduce the difficulty of getting past a boss that’s too hard. There is also a whole menu with a dozen special features for every taste. Flexibility, which is another nice quality for Young Souls. Because the title 1P2P is more than a solid beat’em up, it’s an enjoyable adventure to live and follow, with very good art direction, neatly designed and often well-written characters (we’re not big fans of the rather gratuitous vulgarity of some of the dialogue). There is even a small town on the surface where you can take a short walk, talk to the locals and buy a few items. So if the story stays consistent and there are still some mistakes to be regretted, Young Souls offers a more than successful 10 hour adventure. A very good pick.

Young Souls – First minutes of adventure (Gameplay)

Conclusion

Strengths

  • Very good fights
  • Gameplay with two heroes
  • Welcome aspect of RPG
  • original universe, processed
  • good art direction
  • Co-op mode for two players
  • Flexible task

Vulnerable points

  • Completely perfect writing
  • A small lack of weapons
  • repeating patterns

With solid combat and a universe as pleasing to the eye as it is interesting, the French at 1P2P are aiming straight at Young Souls and offering us a very good RPG beat’em up. His big strength is primarily his action phases, which are based on a duo of heroes that can be fully customized. So yes, we would appreciate a little more material on this side, so as not to fall into the textbook heavy/light tandem case. But this is clearly only a detail. Regardless of the situation, Young Souls combat is dynamic, tactical, especially on advanced difficulty modes. The player also has the ability to adjust the call at their own discretion and at any time. Another very good point that allows you to appreciate in any circumstances the Young Souls universe, which has been the subject of special attention, despite the fact that the writing can be improved in the end. The first project that sets the tone for future 1P2P games. Very good, included in Game Pass.

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