Young Souls is a side-scrolling, beat’em up, RPG where you play as the twins Tristan and Jenn. They’re social outcasts, and in a stereotypical rebellious punk phase. I was a super uppity fuck in school I never had a rebellious phase really, bully phase, yes, rebellious, no so much. Anyways, they’re orphans, so an old guy named The Professor adopted them about a year before the events of the game. And near the start of the game the Professor sends them on a errand to sell some literal junk and thankfully to pick up their moped unbeknownst to them, the nice little surprises, you know? Anyways when they get back the house is trashed and the Professor is gone and the always mysteriously locked door heading to what they assume is a basement is open, le gasp. They go searching and find themselves in another world, the underground world of the Gobbons, which are purple goblins. They learn the Professor has been kidnapped and the leader of the Gobbons has become a dictator and plans to bring war to the humans. So it’s up to you to kick the shit out of every and get your dad back, oh and I guess save the world if you have to, whatevs.
The siblings play the exact same way, you choose what gear to equip each one from armor and shields to shoes and weapons. The weapon changes how combat for that character goes, there’s swords, daggers, great swords, hammers, and axes. Daggers are fast, swords are slower but have longer range, the rest of the weapons are slow as half frozen tree drizzle shits, but hit like fucking mac trucks. all items have a weight and the heavier things are the slower you attack and move… I think. I never really noticed a difference in movement speed but I only really used one of the characters, cause Jenn’s my spirit person. You can flip between the characters whenever you want, or you could even play co-op, for me that wasn’t tested cause that would mean I’d have to play a game with another human being and that is not what I signed into this life for so… no.
You find weapons in chests, some enemy drops (rarely), as boss drops, or you can buy some in the shop. Armors and helmets you get in chests, as boss drops, or are bought in shops. Shields I think you only get in chests and the store. Weapons and armors are able to be upgraded when you unlock the shops that sell weapons and armors anyways. They require goblin gold and some materials. Some of the materials are found in random breakable objects in levels, others are rare and only found in chests and therefore there’s only a specific amount of them in the entire game. There isn’t enough rare materials to upgrade everything much to my abhorrence, just knowing there’s weapons in my character’s inventory unupgraded or only partially upgraded is… it really bothers me, I have compulsions, and this is fucking with all of them in a way I can fix, so I’m kind of fixated on it and my annoyance, cause I wanna upgrade fucking everything.
There’s also upgrades for gear that you find, in the form of medals that bosses drop, there’s not enough of those to upgrade everything to max either… It’s like the game is trying to drive me fucking crazy and I don’t fucking appreciate it. I just… I really want to upgrade everything and it’s punishing me for my desire to do stuff in it. I’m a bad, bad girl, trying to upgrade things in a game, how dare I? But the gear is things like a bow, bomb, mine, etc. Each character can equip a single gear piece, they’re meh I didn’t really find a reason to use them. I used the bow to destroy items that explode if you hit them or pick them up and throw them, simply to get rid of the fucking things before they blew up in my face, cause a bunch of them did that before I figured out you could shoot them with the arrow, I’m a dumb sometimes.
You can also buy clothing for the characters, the clothing is just a fashion statement, it’s bought with money and you get money by selling junk boxes that you get as rewards in the game as well as for selling upgrade materials to the junk dealer in the human world. And remember how I said you can buy shoes? They’re sneakers and you buy them in the human world with goblin gold, these sneakers impart special buffs on your character from making stuff weigh less, increasing movement speed, attack damage, even one that gives that character an extra life. There’s a bunch of them and they are expensive as hell, the most expensive ones are like over two thousand gold, which is obscene. Like weapons and armor, best ones you can buy, around three hundred gold or something like that.
You have three stats: Strength, which dictates how much damage you do, Resistance, which dictates how much HP you have, and Stamina which dictates somehow in some way how many times you can roll and stuff. You level up by beating the shit out of enemies and then going to bed when you have a level up available, this… isn’t really necessary, I beat the game on challenging difficulty, which is the recommended difficulty but it’s the third of four difficulties, at level two. Yeah just level two, that’s it. Bow before me, I’m a shiny golden goddess, yes, now bow before me MWUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. *coughs* Ummm… Anyways, every time you level up all three stats raise a little, but every single time you go to bed, you get a training ticket, that ticket is used in the human’s city at the gym. At the gym you can choose a stat for each character, individually, that you want to raise, then you get a mini-game which isn’t terribly exciting or fun, basically you tap or hold a button to keep a line in a green bar while that bar moves up or down. Every few seconds or something like that you get a star if you’ve kept it in the green, every star you have at the end determines how much the stat goes up, aiming for five stars to get max gains is the best option. You don’t have to do that too much either. I raised both character’s strength a single time and never used the gym again. I didn’t sleep in the game. I was planning to wait til enemies kicked the shit out of me so bad that I got a game over, and that never happened. Your level doesn’t impact what armors, weapons, or gear you can equip, it just gives some extra stat increase.
There’s no side quests in the game or anything. It’s very much a side-scrolling beat’em up, you go to the right, you kill things, then you travel right some more and kill more things. There are some optional areas you can go into that have extra bosses so you can get more gear upgrade medals, and some new equips like armor and weapons, as well as often there’s some rare materials here for item upgrades too, and the bosses are worth a TON of XP.
In combat you can flip between the characters, the flip does come with a cool down but it’s not long, at only a few seconds. Your character supposedly heals over time by doing this, but again I only really played as one character so I don’t know if it actually happens. However, depending on the difficulty you play on each character also has lives, not sure if they’re combined or if each has their own amount, but when a character dies, the other one jumps in and you have to tap a button repeatedly and they resuscitate their sibling, the dead one gets up and jumps off screen leaving you to play as the other one. However, when resuscitated, that character gets all their HP back, so you can immediately switch back to the sibling you prefer to use and go on to kick the shit out of whoever killed you. Jenn had a few points where she got revenge, not many, but a few, but boy did they fucking pay.
The writing is decent the twins do start to change their tune over the coarse of the game, Tristan less than Jenn, but then again, boys are uhh… well, kinda dumb. They might grow into smart men but teenage boys are really, really dumb. After you defeat each main big boss you get a new bit of story from their side and it gives you some insight into their characters and to a degree makes you feel for them a little, sometimes. It’s a fairly simple story, bad guys kidnap the dad and plan to use a drill to wreak havoc on the surface dwellers because the people living underground were forced there and are tired of it, it’s a story I’ve heard many a time, but it’s a tried and true classic. Kidnap a loved one, and mole people, those are the major tropes of this game, everyone knows both of them. And as you can see from the pictures the graphics are amazing.
This paragraph I saved to be the last nice thing I say, I saved it for last cause it’s awesome. There’s some accessibility options for the game. You can make it to where you do more damage, the enemies do less, enemies’ HP levels, stamina recharge speed, attack speed for both you and the enemy as separate entries, etc. It really lets you fiddle with the game if something just isn’t working for you, you can make it more your speed. These options also work with every difficulty level of the game to help people out.
Now comes the bad few paragraphs, filled with deserved anger, and be warned this part has some foul language in it because it’s filled with some of anger. There are two options that are sorely missing in the accessibility options, one is kind of a semi-serious, very serious kinda joke, and the other is just straight up it needs to be dealt with in some way. The kind of joke one that I’m more serious about than I should be, infinite materials or heavy increase of them when you find them. Basically make it to where instead of picking up one and it being just one, pick it up and it’s like ten or something including ones you get out of chests, because I want to upgrade everything to max damnit give me the ability to do it, I demand it, gimme, gimme, gimme. New Game Plus would also do something akin to this, so that could be added in too but that’s not an accessibility option at that point.
The other completely, one hundred percent, serious one, and where the anger comes from, is that they need to let us decide if all the flashing and flickering is really fucking needed, cause it’s not, and next to none of it adds a damn thing to the game. Every checkpoint is a place you can spawn in the game, when you first reach it, energy explodes into it, and the screen goes bright white from moderately or really dark room, it gets so bright that with my eyes squeezed tight I still saw pure fucking white. After it does that one time, every other time you go up to that specific checkpoint some white vines go around the archway and they don’t flicker or flash, and are very fucking noticeable. So why have it do the bright flash the first time? The doesn’t benefit to it, after the flash, a pop-up comes up that says now that’s a place you can fast travel to and you have to click something to make it go away. After that when you go to it every other time a noticeable change happens when you walk near it and the white energy vines appear on it. As such there’s absolutely no need for the bright fucking flash it just serves no purpose but to hurt those who are photosensitive, that may not have been the plan but that’s literally all it fucking does. Every time you collect an item from a chest, it does something similar, and after the flash it has a pop-up telling you what item you picked up and you have to click okay for it to go away, so the flash, again serves no function.
Those are the major two flashing things because they’re full screen. However, there’s a bunch of minor ones too that flash on a specific area, usually that yo’re already focused on and therefore it’s useful but can cause similar issues with large full screen ones if someone is hyper-focused. Here’s a handful of other things that flash and why. Enemies when you hit them and you when they hit you, neither are needed because they literally have a health bar above their head and you have a health bar on the side of the screen. Get a bunch of enemies, and even more so when it’s in co-op that becomes a flickering fucking mess which is super dangerous, I’m sure that shit primed me for a large full screen one to give me a seizure or the other way around, it’s hard to remember fully, because you know seizure. When you block or parry, when you block want to know what else happens you hear the clink of the weapon hitting the shield and your knocked back, it doesn’t need to flash. For parrying not only does it flash but, I feel and maybe I’m wrong and it just felt that way but I’m pretty sure it zooms in on the character when they flash, so dangerous, if it does zoom in, then guess what you don’t need the flash cause it fucking zooms in that tells you, you parried, I think it also slows down time for a little bit, so again no need for the flash. When enemies do special attacks, they flicker, and the flickering is a cloud underneath them, but the cloud is like purple, so there’s no need for a flicker, cause that’s the only time the cloud shows up, other ones the weapon turns purple itself, and I don’t think that one flickers, which furthers the point the cloud ones don’t need to flicker either. Then there’s explosive jars which are always kind of a problem in games so I’m not going to bother talking on that one, I would like if they made it easier to avoid them in later levels by making them stick out a bit more. I don’t know how many times I hit one accidentally and every time it fucked me up, not the damage but the fire effects. Then there’s also when you hit destructible object, they don’t need to flash for a much more simple reason, many of them just break after one hit, and the one object type that doesn’t, it shows visible damage with the two hits it takes before the third breaks it, no need for flashing. For every one of these minor flickering areas (which can ALL be in the same area of a fight) there’s no need for literally any of them to flicker, we’re already focusing on them on top of that so it’s not like the flicker tells you where you are, cause you can already see it, you’re looking directly at it already. If two people are playing in co-op and they get in a big fight, just the flickering from the mass of enemies being hit alone, with nothing else, could provoke a seizure. There’s no point to the flickering and flashing, at all, it doesn’t serve a purpose therefore it should be removed, cause it’s a massive determent that could hurt and/or kill people.
I’m all for artistic shit, I fucking love most art, this isn’t artistic expression this is flashing and flickering for the sake of fucking doing it, it serves absolutely no purpose. This is a seizure inducing mess of a game. I beat the game and my save had it at seven hours and fifteen minutes to beat it, during that time the fucking game gave me THREE FUCKING SEIZURES, and I was trying to take precautions, namely looking away because I, personally, am not even easily triggered to fucking have a seizure. And while yes, the game does have a warning for it for photosensitive people and seizures, shit like that isn’t really an artistic choice because it doesn’t do anything artistic, and as a design choice it’s absolutely dog shit cause it serves no purpose because other things are already being done that negate the need of the flash/flicker. Again everything that flashes like this is something you’re already focusing on, so it’s not even to bring your focus to the fucking thing. I, personally, wouldn’t even put an option to turn it off, I’d just fucking get rid of it, it doesn’t serve a purpose and can only hurt people, with that being the case there’s no need for it. And yes, I know I’m saying fuck a lot, I’m not happy, big shocker. I like this game, but this bit, is kind of bullshit. And you might be like, how big of an issue is this reeeeeeeally? While thinking that I’m blowing this out of proportion. I went to check before writing this next part of this paragraph to make sure I knew exactly how many fucking checkpoints and chests there were. There’s a fucking metric fuckton of checkpoint gates in this game, wanna know how many? Sixty. Fucking. Eight. Wanna know how many chests there are? FIFTY. Over one hundred full screen flashes in this game that serve no purpose artistically or as a design choice, and likely thousands (depending on how long and much you play etc, of minor ones that only really flash and flicker exactly where you’re looking which means it they might as well be full screen flashes. When you do this, intentional or not, it only serves as a giant fuck you to people who are photosensitive. They have a warning so they know we exist and they STILL have so damn many, even though none of them serve a purpose. So do you understand why I’m so angry about this? I like the game, and they’ve fucked me right off, cause intentional or not, this is still a giant ‘fuck you’ me and everyone like me. I have edited this a couple times and I’m still kind of fairly livid, and every edit was days after the last and the first writing was days after finishing the game. This stuff makes me very angry, some games have flashing that dangerous, and it sucks BUT there’s a reason for it, it’s a needed mechanic, and I hate those games thankfully they’re never games I’d play anyways. This game though, it doesn’t need any of the flashing, at all for anything and that is one of the reasons it makes me mad that they’re still in the game; they don’t need to be. There’s a difference between, lets say you go to a construction zone and there’s a warning something my fall on your head and you choosing to go in anyways, normally something might occasionally fall, but that’s a big difference from the workers standing up near the top watching you and chucking large scraps of fucking iron at your head on purpose, constantly. That is a similar difference between most games’ seizure warnings and how they have stuff in it, versus how this game is handling it. And from these last few paragraphs you might have a pretty good idea of whether this game is going to get the seal or not, and this is EXACTLY why it’s going to get what it gets, one hundred percent.
I have to write an overall paragraph now, but I’m so fucking drained emotionally and mentally. The flickering flashing crap they added ruined an absolutely beautiful, heart felt, fantastic fucking game, over one hundred full screen flashes that served absolutely no one any purpose and even more minor ones set on everything you as a player will be focusing on when it flashes… I don’t understand why they were added at all. The major full screen ones are bad but the small flickering ones that can be caused when fighting lots of enemies… that’s highly dangerous to most photosensitive people. That’s all I have, because I just don’t give a damn anymore, I don’t think this isn’t going to make it to five sentences like I like my paragraphs to be and I just, I just don’t fucking care, I’m just sad and angry and disappointed.
A review copy of the game was provided by publisher The Arcade Crew.
No, this game does not get the Indie Gamer Team Seal of Approval, if the two devs that made it want to fix the flashing/flickering issues and request a new review I’ll HAPPILY do it, and then, if they actually fixed all of them, they’ll get it easy-peasy cause otherwise it’s a great game. Until then though, Fuck. No. It’s dangerous.