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Young Souls is scrappy but fun

Goblin Market.

To get this out of the way first, I've been playing Young Souls on Switch and it's not an enormously brilliant port. This was once a timed Stadia exclusive, I gather, and while it's entirely playable on Switch, the loading can be quite lengthy and the frame rate can be sort of jittery, which adds an element of imprecision during combat. I am not an expert in this stuff. I suspect you can tell.

As I said, though, it's entirely playable, and I've been playing it, and it's been excellent fun. This is a nice modern take on the sort of Turtles-style scrolling beat-'em-up. By modern I mean it has XP and leveling and gear and a hub and all that jazz. But it's also just a good time in a lovely world. Young Souls has charm. (And a profanity filter mode, thankfully, which makes up for the bizarre choice to include swearing in a game that kids will clearly love.)

This is a two-player co-op game at heart, but you can play it perfectly well as a single-player, skipping back and forth between the main characters, who are twins, with a jab of the Tag button. So far - I'm only an hour or so in - levels tend to offer a bit of busywork and plot development and then a trip into a dungeon, followed by a boss.

Check out Young Souls in action.

Combat includes shields and rolls which need to be timed just so, and then plenty of hacking and slashing. Enemies tend to warp in all around you in numbers, so it's often about crowd control. Luckily, alongside your main weapons there are throwable objects which offer a pleasantly painful sense of connection.

Battling is a lot of fun, but it's outside of the combat and dungeon-crawling that Young Souls started to work on me. The story of twins battling a sort of secret goblin army is charming enough, but the art style is very pretty - cartoon sans borderlines, a lovely palette of purples and pinks and reds - and the locations you visit are quietly evocative.

Your hub, for example, is a rattly old house with plenty of secrets, but before you even get to those there's a freakin' sunken lounge in your bedroom! You move between the house and the nearby town on a moped, which is always money in the bank for me, and while there's a gym to go to to boost stats and shops to pick through for equipment, there's also just a lovely sense of small-town place. A square with a well in it - what's in the well? A pawn shop with a sarcastic slacker behind the glass. Beautiful little houses and government buildings, and a ride in that takes you past dinky farms with barns and grain towers.

This, I think, is what will be bringing me back, and this is what will see me trying to coax my daughter into playing alongside me for a bit. Nice game, fantastic world-building. Nothing unprecedented, perhaps, but a lovely eye for detailing and character.

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About the Author
Christian Donlan avatar

Christian Donlan

Features Editor

Christian Donlan is a features editor for Eurogamer. He is the author of The Unmapped Mind, published as The Inward Empire in the US.