Consoles: Xbox One (reviewed), PS4, PC
Developer: Coldwood Interactive
There’s a lot to be said about EA’s latest darling IP, Unravel, but first and foremost, I’ll note its beauty. Somehow, a game about a doll created with yarn has captured our hearts, entwining us into its beautiful and engaging story. I’ll also note that Unravel has the same sort of tone found in last year’s Ori and the Blind Forest, which given the fact that the game released at the same time of the year as Ori, it’s remarkable that we’re not seeing more people comparing EA’s new gem with Microsoft’s from last year.
But Unravel doesn’t play like Ori and the Blind Forest. While Ori focuses on platforming, Unravel brings you on Yarny’s journey, using unique mechanics that could only be made possible by the fact that our new red friend is made out of yarn. And while Ori focuses on fantastical environments, the world within Unravel goes for realism, and is nearly photo-realistic. On top of the game’s undeniable beauty, its Unravel‘s puzzles that make it worth the playthrough. At first, you’ll likely find it annoying that although you’re unraveling, Yarny doesn’t appear to lose any of his mass. But once you get past this nuanced annoyance, it’s easy to get lost in the game’s creative puzzles. No, they’re not nearly as difficult as anything out of The Witness, but you will come across a few head-scratchers. As far as the platforming itself is concerned, well, Unravel isn’t exactly an overwhelming challenge.
As far as the soundtrack is concerned, it helps to paint a gorgeous picture of sound with its peaceful and charming numbers. Paired with the story, it fuels the game’s undeniable charm. I will note that we did notice the transitions between songs aren’t smooth, and it’s quite noticeable (think skipping from track to track on any media player). It’s okay, we’ll forgive you, Coldwood. Of course, any time that EA chooses to throw money at a game that isn’t Battlefield, Madden or FIFA, I always get a little excited. Luckily, their new IP brings a cute new character for us to love, and hopefully we haven’t seen the last of our new little red friend.
I’ve been excited about unraveling more of Yarny’s adventure ever since first seeing Coldwood’s creative director, Martin Sahlin, talk about his game on stage during EA’s E3 2015 conference (and it was one of our potential best games of February 2016). I’m happy to say that a lot of the things we liked about his presentation were prominent in the game’s final release — the beauty, the creativity, and the fact that it wasn’t to be another yearly EA title. And I think that’s what it all comes down to with a game like Unravel — the fact that it’s all so charming. It’s a unique game, for sure, and it’s the first must-play game of 2016.
- Beautiful-looking game
- Yarny is a cute new character in video games
- Lighthearted affair
- Jarring musical transitions
- Lost potential with platforming
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