Thursday, February 17, 2022

Console Corner: Review of Unravel Two

Short review: Unravel + second player—what’s not to love??

Longer review: Of course, Unravel Two cannot be reduced to so few words. While gameplay remains a family-friendly platform puzzler featuring cute yarnies, there are a handful of changes which evolve the concept—some in positive fashion, some in neutral, but all in a fashion which seeks to add more people to the fun.

Where there was one colorful yarny in the first Unravel, there are two in Unravel Two. Nicely complementing the themes of family and community, Unravel Two must be played two-player, couch co-op. For families, friends, and children, this game fills a niche that has taken a backseat to single-player or MMO games the past couple of decades. Couch co-op is still viable, and Unravel Two shows how via puzzles that require real cooperation.

In terms of gameplay, the first Unravel game alternated between sections wherein the player needed to avoid enemies or moving parts in order to survive, and sections which required puzzling—typically, how to use the yarn lasso in combination with the environment to move on. In Unravel Two, the environments change, but that formula remains the same. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it, and indeed the game remains a joy to play.

Players of the original Unravel will remember a loose storyline in the game, a regular revelation of photographs that portrayed nostalgic waypoints in the life of a family. Unravel 2 uses a similar idea of loosely linked photos in presenting its narrative. But instead of a family, the game focuses on a small community and the various people who inhabit it. The subject matter a bit more serious, there are scenes of domestic violence mixed with those of a more pastoral, peaceful time in nature. The soundtrack underpinning gameplay, it provides a complementary peaceful and relaxing experience similar to the first game.

In the end, if you enjoyed the original Unravel, there is absolutely no reason why you would not also enjoy the sequel. But you’ll need to bring a friend. Gameplay follows the same methodology but features new settings which test players platforming and puzzling abilities. Lassoing now a combo effect, almost all the puzzles require teamwork to get through, which gives the game a true co-op feel. If you did not play the original Unravel but are interested in a two-player, cooperative, family-weight puzzle platformer, have a try. There is no need to have played the original Unravel. My only question is: will there be Unravel Three for three people?

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