Jenn and Tristan may be orphaned outcasts, but they’re doing pretty okay in life. They live in a mansion, have a sweet moped, and have been adopted by an eccentric professor that doesn’t seem to mind if they miss school. All that changes when the professor goes missing. Suddenly, they have new things to worry about, like prison breaks and an impending goblin invasion.

From its opening moments, Young Souls looks and feels like a Saturday morning cartoon, even though its twin protagonists can be pretty foul-mouthed. It’s not just the bright, vibrant color scheme and animated flourishes (though those elements definitely add to its appeal); it’s the little details — like the mayor that’s secretly been resettling goblin refugees — that make it feel like it would fit in with the Cartoon Network lineup.

Young Souls is clearly inspired by old-school beat-em-ups, but it’s a story-driven action RPG at its core. At times, it can feel a little too story-focused, especially during the game’s first hour, but it eventually settles into a reasonably satisfying gameplay loop.

The mansion is home to a secret laboratory, and that laboratory contains a gate that can instantly transport you to the goblin realm. There, you’ll discover sprawling dungeons and plenty of monsters that are itching for a fight.

Once you’re there, you’ll be battling as both Jenn and Tristan. In single-player mode, you can switch between the twins with a push of a button, while co-op mode allows the twins to fight side by side. Just be aware that you’ll need a local friend to play with you — there’s no online co-op available.

There’s no difference in how the twins play — at least not that I’ve noticed — but it doesn’t have to stay that way. As you fight through the dungeons, you’ll collect swords, shields, axes, bows (well, a bow), and plenty of other types of weapons and armor. More gear means more customization options, and you can eventually make Jenn and Tristan feel distinct from each other.

Even before you’ve unlocked much gear, the combat has plenty of depth. Not only can you block, dodge, and parry enemy attacks, but you can switch between the twins at strategic times, giving you an edge over your opponents. I found the combat to be smooth for the most part, but I had the occasional framerate drop while playing on Switch.

When you’re not busy crawling dungeons, you can hop on your moped and explore the town, where you can sell loot, buy new outfits, and even improve your stats at the local gym. I wasn’t a big fan of the gym minigames, but it’s nice to be able to take a break from slashing through hordes of enemies every now and then.

Young Souls gives players an incredible amount of control over its difficulty settings, allowing you to make the game as easy or as hard as you want it to be. In addition to offering four game modes: Relaxed, Balanced, Challenging, and Expert, you can customize player and enemy attack speed, stamina refill rate, and more. Just be aware that you might breeze through Young Souls if you make it too easy — Half-Glass Gaming’s Editor-In-Chief managed to 100% it in just 10 hours.

Young Souls is a solid side-scrolling RPG that players can approach in all kinds of ways. You can crank up the difficulty and test your parrying skills, turn on easy mode and focus on the story, or enjoy some couch co-op with a friend.

While Young Souls was originally a Stadia exclusive, it’s now available on Steam, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One. It’s currently a part of the Game Pass library.

Disclaimer: I was given a review code for Young Souls on Nintendo Switch, but the opinions expressed in this article are my own.

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