DotEmu Spotlight @ PAX East 2022

Young Souls

When I covered Young Souls back in March, a rising star in the catalog of DotEmu, I mentioned many colorful things about it. The art style, the dialogue, and the gameplay were what gravitated me towards wanting to play more. I guess that's how you got the inspiration from Gravity Falls am I right?

Well, according to the developer, I actually am!

Young Souls

I had a chance to speak to one of the developers today, much like I have with the developer for Turbo Overkill. Using what stood out for me during my first impressions, the "adult Saturday morning cartoon" aesthetic wasn't too far off the mark. According to 1P2P, Gravity Falls was a large inspiration for the world surrounding Young Souls as well as the sibling's relationships themselves. As this was mentioned to me, it started to make sense.

There are many parallels between Tristan and Jenn with Dipper and Mabel albeit with an emphasis on "teenage angst." An American writer was on board with ensuring the dialogue in the game was as authentic as a teen would talk in 202X. I have my personal woes on having an adult create dialogue for teenagers but that would be reserved for when I do a retrospect in Life Is Strange. Fortunately, it doesn't reach levels of "trying too hard." While I wouldn't call it authentic, it is an earnest effort.

What has also confirmed for me was some of the gameplay's inspirations for its combat, specifically how the tag system works. The developer mentioned that Tekken Tag Tournament 2 was one of Young Souls' major inspirations when it came to that. As a Tekken fan, this gave me joy because I immediately understood how life bars worked in that game. I lauded Young Souls for borrowing mechanics from various genres and the confirmation made it all the sweeter.

Lastly, as a French developer, to be on the floor for the first time as a developer rather than an attendee was a beautiful thing. To have people like myself who have played the game and have conversations with us was enjoyable. Even newer players who never touched Young Souls before this weekend and seeing their reactions made the process worth it.

Young Souls is available right now on Steam and Xbox Game Pass.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge

Of the many titles that haven't been released yet, this was the game I was most looking forward to playing. Tribute Games, best known for being part of the team that worked on the iconic Scott Pilgrim vs The World title, is on the cusp of releasing Shredder's Revenge through DotEmu. While Scott Pilgrim's experience is certainly shown in full force here, Shredder's Revenge is a love letter to the classic arcade games that Konami developed.

It wouldn't be the only source of inspiration, as many elements including attack animations were inspired by TMNT Tournament Fighters among others. In the demo build, two levels are included and six characters are playable. I had the chance to play with someone via co-op and it's definitely the best way to experience the joy of Shredder's Revenge. Sprites from the players to the enemies are all colorful and vibrant with personality. Iconic villains including Bebop and Rocksteady make their appearance as well.


Rounding out the roster are the four turtles, Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo, Master Splinter, and April O'Neil. I immediately locked my character choice to April as she was the one who I was most interested in. Since her debut trailer many months ago, players who are savvy in fighting games have noticed many similarities with her moveset.

Her attacks bear inspiration from various martial arts movies, specifically, I was told, based on Cynthia Rothrock. The woman who's best known for her collaboration with Michelle Yeoh in the 1980s movie Yes Madam. That Cynthia Rothrock. It was at this moment I knew April was not all she appeared to be, but there was more to her character. She had a dive kick, which was impressive.

Her unique ability is a series of rising kicks not unlike a certain Interpol agent who has a similar attack in a fighting game. Her running knee strike is similar to a certain Interpol agent's partner with wild blonde spikey hair and a penchant for booming sonics. Even her idle animation is very...Shotokan like. But that's all just a mere coincidence, there's no way April is based on any fighting in the streets, which is what the first two levels consist of.

Each character has their own unique flair and it's shown quite well in their animations. Co-op is shaping to be the definitive way to play Shredder's Revenge as various utilities that are co-op exclusive benefit players. One major one is a high-five that allows one player to give their health to someone who needs it. Keeping others alive through the power of teamwork is what keeps the game going. TMNT: Shredder's Revenge will no doubt be a cult classic if the demo build is anything to go by.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge will release later in 2022.

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