Review: Unravel Two
Available On: Xbox One | Playstation 4 | PC
The first Unravel game was a beautiful puzzle platformer that was perfectly balanced, both relaxing and difficult. The unconventional story structure allowing the player to fill in the gaps with their own life experience, creating an individual experience. Unravel Two follows in the same footsteps. The second installment offers the player a similar style of beautiful and calming scenery to that of the first game. The game is a puzzle platformer that is just difficult enough to keep you engaged.
First let me start off by saying that Unravel Two is adorable. Unlike the first Unravel, you play with two “Yarnys.” A pair of woolly characters can be nothing but cute. The game intermixes real environments with the mystical Yarnys, it gives a great juxtaposition of modern world and old beliefs. I believe there is something deep there, but I will let the player interpret that for themselves. That’s what Unravel and Unravel Two focus on. They allow the player to view the game from their own lens. There is no “telling”, they show you the story. The stories feel like they were done by a good author who doesn't describe every detail, letting you imagine the world and characters.
No matter how you play you will be controlling both of the Yarnys. Your Yarnys will team up to chase off bullies and worse from a pair of runaway friends. Controlling both Yarnys by yourself can be a bit challenging and at times frustrating. I had a difficult time getting through a couple of the challenges by myself, there is one level in particular that using both is extremely frustrating. Most of these issues are mitigated because the developer thought ahead and made it so one or the other could “catch a ride”. One of them will hop on the back of the other, allowing you to play as one character. This makes the fast paced sections manageable by yourself.
What I prefer is the cooperative play. It even allows for couch co-op so you can play with a friend or family member without having to buy multiple copies. My wife and I have really enjoyed being able to play it together without having to deal with Xbox Live and possible lag, all of which are things you really don’t want in a precision game. Having two people comes with some nice advantages. The most important one is that if you mess up, you can have the other player positioned strategically so an entire section doesn’t have to be replayed.
Precision really becomes a factor in the later stages of the game and in the challenge sequences. Luckily, Unravel Two has tight controls that are easy to learn. There is an extensive “tutorial” that teaches you while working your way through a level. It isn’t intrusive or boring, just the first level that introduces you. Once you are out you are on your own to tease out the solution to multiple puzzles and avoid various different enemies. The tight windows that you will have to fit through will test your platforming skills. Some of the enemies will chase you while you are trying to puzzle something out. That is where the second player comes in handy because they can duck, dodge, and dive to save themselves. The challenges do truly test your ability. This is where things will get more frustrating than relaxing. However, there was never a section of the game like the finale of Ori and the Blind Forest or Super Meat Boy where I was so frustrated I put the game down for days.
With its wonderful music, splendid visuals, as well as the right touch of story and difficulty, Unravel Two creates a truly enjoyable experience. It is the perfect game to play if you want to unwind from a long day at work.