Game: Unravel Two
Consoles: PS4 (reviewed), Xbox One, PC
Developer: Coldwood Interactive
Just like last time, Unravel gives us Yarny, the ultimate representation of the bonds we share with loved ones. There is one fundamental difference that changes up the whole game – couch co-op gameplay. Unravel Two doesn’t tell a story anymore clearly than the previous game did. Instead, it takes symbolism and turns it into the actions of the players – both of them.
Every time you feel the thrill of solving a puzzle together, or the frustration of not quite making it for the 7th time – the story advances because the bond between you and the other player is growing. Of course, we can only hope that the bond is growing for the better. The idea is that each set of players create their own story while following the rather vague one in the game.
As such, let’s dive into the gameplay that truly puts Unravel Two on the top charts. First of all, the puzzles and platforming are easy. The challenge levels are a bit more complicated, but there is no getting around how easy it all is. This usually works in the game’s favor, especially when the players get frustrated by their own clumsy timing. Or as I like to call it, trying to deal with each other’s urge to rage quit.
However, having felt that thrill of solving a puzzle together, it would be really nice to see more difficult challenges available for those players that are ready for it. This is something the developers could consider for future titles. In addition, a lot of the more challenging levels require only one Yarny to solve; it would be exciting to see more levels that require both Yarnys to move in different directions.
The game is also a little short and could use a more in-depth story to properly engage players instead of relying so heavily on symbolism. The story is supposed to be told through the actions of the players, but Coldwood could reach a wider audience in their next game if there was more story for the players to interact with.
This brings us to the second point: couch co-op. Unravel Two can sit right next to games like A Way Out as one of the best couch co-op games besides Mario Kart. The experience of solving puzzles together, running away from eccentric turkeys, and making our own story throughout the game was exceptional. All of it was an experience only Unravel Two could provide.
To be a little more specific, Unravel Two introduced new and changed mechanics from the last game. First and foremost, Yarnys can now swim. This makes water is slightly less daunting and players can use a far more logical approach to the puzzle. Secondly, a new mechanic in the form of moving enemies lends a pleasant challenge to each level, especially ones that require close timing.
Speaking of challenges, Unravel Two allows you to customize the appearance of your Yarny and more options are unlocked as you finished the challenge levels. This was a fun addition, allowing us to try out a huge variety of exciting colors and shapes.
As to the graphics themselves, Unravel Two is a step up from Unravel. The Yarnys have more texture and animations. The latter gives them character and personality, like cheering when a puzzle is done, or pushing the other Yarny ahead. Their idle animations are very endearing too, adding to their character – they are supposed to represent a pair of teenagers after all.
The backgrounds are a lot more alive this time around, like the turkey in the trailer – that is one bird with attitude. Everything in Unravel Two is beautiful – the forest is dense with life and every sunset will take your breath away. Even the puzzles set at night in a park are very well designed to look completely at home.
As to the music of Unravel Two, it is sometimes somber, sometimes happy, sometimes thrilling – the music always suits the tone of the gameplay. The instruments are varied, but the violin always remains the most prominent. The is even a set of notes that represent a theme to the game, which are played in almost every track. Not in an annoying way, in a leitmotif way, taking elements from the first game’s musical theme and injecting it into a new one for the second game. There’s even some lovely voice work, completely wordless, that heightens the overall experience.
Environmental audio is well-timed and suited to each moment. No crunch or squelch is out of place. I hate to bring up the turkey again, but they recreated the very unique sounds of a grouse that helped the immersion as much as the music did.
Needless to say, Unravel Two is a game that will bring people together and make their own Yarny. The story is yours, even as you watch the two teenagers grow closer together. Unravel Two may not bring you to tears like the last game did, but this time the message is about reinvigorated love and working through strife. The levels could be a little more challenging and the story more engaging, but the overall experience makes Unravel Two worth an 8/10.
Our Unravel Two Review Score: 8 out of 10
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