01 Oct 2021 3:52 PM +00:00

Young Souls Demo Impressions – A Refined Beat ‘Em Up That Shows Significant Promise

There’s something brilliant about a good brawler. They’re not always my go-to, sure, but between old-school beat ‘em ups like Streets of Rage to more recent experiences with Yakuza, they’ve kept me coming back. So, when I learned about French studio 1P2P’s co-op brawler Young Souls last week, it caught my curiosity. Playing as two rebellious twins, Jenn and Tristan, you’ll be fighting to save their foster father from the Dwarvengobben, a force intent on invading humanity’s surface world. Diving into a demo build on PC via Steam, I came away optimistic.

Read More: Young Souls Interview – How 1P2P Brought This Tale of Twins to Life

Player Two Enters The Fight

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Young Souls’ demo comes in two parts. Demo A, “The Beginning”, placing you into a brief combat sequence before revealing what sparked Jenn and Tristan’s journey several weeks prior. As the troublesome twins skip school to head into town – later called the “Human City” – it’s a nice introductory segment. As for Demo B, “Exploring Dungeons”… well, that’s self-explanatory, as we fight Dwarvengobben’s forces in real-time combat.

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Demo B takes place two hours into the main game, at a point where the Twins are fully armed. If you’re playing alone, 1P2P’s implemented a Tag System that lets you switch between the twins, also providing assist attacks. Initially packing a sword and shield, you can equip both with daggers, hammers, and axes too. Performing quick attacks by pressing X, holding X down unleashes charged attacks, sometimes launching enemies into the air. We’ve got magical weapons too - namely summoning or elemental spells – which use mana cells, acting like your traditional MP systems.

Accessories aren’t your traditional stat boosts either, offering players items like mines, bombs, grappling hooks and more. Finally, Jenn and Tristan can be kitted out with armour too, and all three are upgradeable. Clothing’s also an option, but that doesn’t affect stats. In terms of combat, Jenn and Tristan have an identical base build, and you can customise them through your equipment. As a bonus, matching sets provide extras like increased defence, but be careful. Items are weighted, so a heavy build makes your character slower.

On The Defensive

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Of course, there’s plenty of room for defensive strategies too. While both twins can block/parry attacks, some strikes are unblockable, requiring you to dodge roll. That has to be used sparingly though, as rolls use up your stamina gauge, which only regenerates upon leaving battle. Should you die, the other twin can revive you, using up one of your Lives. Once you leave a dungeon, lives do replenish, so don’t worry too much.

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Honestly, I was impressed with these systems. Backed up by various in-depth mechanics, Young Souls always offered clear explanations to each aspect of gameplay, and it’s hard to fault 1P2P’s efforts here. Combat felt straightforward, there’s plenty to keep you busy and mowing down foes felt satisfying. Alongside four difficulty modes, Young Souls includes optional accessibility modifiers, letting players adjust settings like attack speed, damage dealt to enemies and more. For anyone finding it tough, you’ve got significant customisability here.

Ultimately, I couldn’t find much to truly dislike about 1P2P’s upcoming beat ‘em up. Backed up by in-depth gameplay, satisfying combat and a lovely visual presentation to boot, there’s significant promise within and I had a great time diving in. How that’ll shape up in the full release remains to be seen, but I’m looking forward to it.

Demo copy provided by the publisher.

Reviewed on PC using these specs, played with an Xbox Series controller.