Young Souls is a beat ’em up about society’s outcasts

Young Souls is a beat ’em up about society’s outcasts

Growing up is tough, especially when you look different than everyone else. People are cruel to outcasts; they mock and tease with little regard for how their actions might affect unfortunate victims. Being an outcast is hard. And in Young Souls, it’s even more difficult. In the upcoming game, players take on the role of two “weirdos” who moonlight as supernatural warriors. While the world looks down on them, Young Souls‘ protagonists keep them safe in silence.

Young Souls, a new project from French publisher The Arcade Crew and developer 1P2P, was revealed early today. Although it’s billed as a beat ’em up with RPG progression, the real star of the game’s announcement trailer is the jaw-dropping art. It features hand-drawn characters and environments that speak to a post-punk visual style. Throughout the Young Souls reveal trailer, Jenn and Tristen — the two playable characters — try to get by in a world that keeps singling them out. They’re mocked because of their hair and judged for being different. Rain-slicked city streets and dreary environmental lighting build upon the sibling’s plight. It’s easy to watch the Young Souls reveal and feel like you’re witnessing a graphic novel brought to life by an animator.

Young Souls in new worlds

Young Souls Combat
Solo players can switch between either twin with the push of a button.

After a scene-setting introduction, the trailer goes on to showcase Jenn and Tristen’s secret lives. The duo stumped upon a magic portal at some point, and its existence threatens humanity’s continued survival. And so, the siblings dedicate themselves to battling the monsters lurking on the other side of the portal. They’re heroes, even if the people in their world can’t stand to treat them with respect.

The Arcade Kids state that Young Souls is a tale about “life, family, adventure, and saving the world.” It balances narrative-driven sequences with hard-hitting beat ’em battles and role-playing character progression. According to the publisher, it’s fully playable as a one or two-player experience. In a solo session, players can swap between either twin at a moment’s notice, which is undoubtedly useful, as the game touts over 70 full dungeons to explore.

The trailer closes with the mention “it’s better like this.” Jenn and Tristen seem to struggle with their double lives. And as the trailer comes to a close, a final line of narration reads “people aren’t ready for what’s coming.” That may be true for the in-game characters, but after watching the Young Souls trailer, it’s hard to feel anything but excitement for its release sometime in the future.


Ray Porreca

Ray Porreca is a Philadelphia-based freelance writer. His work has appeared in Vice, Playboy, and Destructoid.

  • ShammyDubz

    It’s nice to see games with hand-drawn art these days. I’m so goddamn sick of one-man “studios” pumping out crappy NES-inspired aesthetics for their unwanted metroidvanias. The lack of ambition in both visuals and game designs from “retro inspired” developers is obnoxious af at this point.

    Even going back to playing games from the late 90’s for, like, 5 minutes clearly shows just how better and more ambitious sprite artists were back then than many of the jerks working today; everything from Adventures of Lomax and Rayman to Leisure Suit Larry: Love for Sail and Toonstruck shows people going crazy with new possibilities, pushing to get their game art looking as good as animation as possible. If you showed those people indie games from today, they’d probably be disgusted with the backwards movement 2D game art has made. With all the tools available to developers today, 2D art should look amazing, but all too often it’s instead just a bad, hollow, worthless imitation of 35-year old games. And I’m really, really sick of outlets pretending like it’s some grand stylistic choice, like arbitrarily choosing to compose your sprite of 30 pixels and poorly animate them makes developers some kind of artistic genius instead of just someone without art skills. No-nothings.

    I’m thrilled this looks amazing, and more importantly, I’m glad you’re pumped to cover it. Far too many outlets don’t give a sh** about indie games unless they look like an Atari 5200 broke for some reason, and it’s really, really horrible. I’m kinda shocked Arcade Crew decided to publish this, but pleasantly surprised. Hopefully this means they’re not JUST in the market to publish pixel-art titles. It’s a little weird that it’s not voice-acted (you can tell this trailer was cut for it, and the subtitles in lieu of voice acting does not punctuate the editing well), but it absolutely looks great. Normal beat ’em ups are too simplistic and quickly become a bore, but those high-skill, combo-heavy ones (like Panzer Bandit, or Guardian Heroes) are always super, super engaging. Definitely putting this on my radar