When EA revealed that they were going to start supporting smaller developers and releasing non-AAA releases under their banner, Unravel’s charming little hero Yarny became one of the more recognisable faces of the movement. Why not, too? The game not only looked utterly delightful, but also proved quite popular with gamers when it released back in 2016.
Well, Yarny’s back for another adventure with Unravel Two, and this time he’s brought a friend. Fans of the original game will be excited to see that the sequel doesn’t only allow them to take on an all-new perilous journey with a friend, but that it’s also more refined from a gameplay perspective too. It’s also worth mentioning that you won’t need to have played the first game to get the most out of the experience, so newbies are certainly welcome…
Unravel Two kicks off with Yarny stuck out at sea in the middle of a terrible storm, which causes his boat to capsize and for him to get washed up on a foreign shore. Luckily, he survives, and he’s met by another interesting character: a blue Yarny. This unlikely meeting sparks a new friendship and the beginning of an adventure where both Yarnys will see their skills (and teamwork) pushed to the limit.
Anyone who has played the original Unravel should feel right at home with Unravel Two, with a lot of the basic gameplay mechanics remaining the same. You’ll still be running and jumping across dangerous environments, avoiding enemies, and solving little puzzles, with the game not changing up too much from that perspective.
The game is also completely playable on your own, so you don’t need to have a friend with you. When playing solo you can switch between both characters for puzzle sequences when you need two Yarnys, or intertwine yourself together to make a cute (but kinda weird) little hybrid character of red and blue yarn when you only need one. It’s an enjoyable way of playing through the game, but it’s clear that the developers have focused more on the co-op experience – some levels can drag out a bit when you’re controlling both characters for example, whilst some set pieces just feel a bit less intuitive when there’s just one mind at work.
I’d definitely recommend playing through the game with a friend if you want to see Unravel Two at its best. The way each puzzle is designed compliments two players perfectly, whilst the abilities both Yarnys have at their disposal are so charming when working as a team – whether it’s using your yarn as a rope for your partner, putting together a make-shift safety net, or simply using a Yarny’s weight as support to swing between platforms, it looks and feels absolutely brilliant in-game. Having someone else to properly co-ordinate and help solve puzzles with just made the game feel so much better… I’d even say that it’s just as satisfying as EA’s recently released (and absolutely brilliant) co-op adventure A Way Out.
Be warned though: just because you have a second player helping you out, it doesn’t always make the game easier. When playing solo, you have full control of both Yarnys and can determine what exactly you want them to do. If a mistake is made, you’ve only got yourself to blame.
When you’re swinging off a second player-controlled Yarny and they mistime a movement and you fall to your death though, the results can be disastrous. Not only can it lead to countless deaths of a poor innocent Yarny, but also some vicious glares and the occasional abusive insult between players. There’s a lot more pressure to time everything perfectly in co-op, and with the game demanding inch-perfect platforming at times, even the smallest of mistakes on one player’s behalf can completely hinder your progression through the game. This isn’t a complaint though – it added both an enjoyable sense of tension and an extra challenge to the game, which just made Unravel Two’s co-op features all the more endearing. Besides, the story takes around five hours to complete, so I’m sure both player’s skills will be top-notch by the end (though I can’t necessarily say that was the case on our end).
Besides the implementation of co-op focused gameplay, Unravel Two has also seen improvements in other facets of design. The controls are a lot more refined this time around for example and you’ll always feel in full control of Yarny’s actions. Don’t get me wrong, they weren’t necessarily bad in the last game, but I do recall more than a few instances where some moments of imprecision led to a few frustrating deaths.
The levels are incredibly well designed too, with a good mixture of genuine brain teasing puzzles, physics-based set pieces, and tricky platforming sections to be found throughout. The fact that you have two Yarnys to think about this time around adds to the experience too, especially for returning players who are used to only having one length of yarn at their disposal. There just seems to be a whole lot more creative variety to be found in each level’s design this time around, and it ensures you’ll stay thoroughly entertained right until the end credits.
Besides the main story, there are plenty of hidden collectibles to find, medals to earn, and challenge levels to complete, so there’s more than enough content to keep you wrapped up in Unravel Two for some time. Besides offering a little something extra for the player to do, you can also unlock new customisation options for Yarny, so you’ll be able to have your own personalised hero for the journey ahead of you.
Not only is Unravel Two a great game to play, it’s also impressive to look at with each environment in the game full of life-like detail. Best of all though is the fact that the world is so full of charm, with plenty of genuinely astounding sights to be seen and even a bit of storytelling going on in the background. You head across a good few environments as you progress through the game, and not one ever skimped as far as the visuals were concerned. Oh, and of course, both Yarnys look as spectacular as ever.
The team at Coldwood Interactive have took what was already a delightful platforming experience and improved it ten-fold thanks to the addition of a second character. Swinging your way through Unravel Two’s impressive levels with a friend is just a blast, whilst the improved level design and tighter controls just add to the experience.
Unravel Two was a really pleasant surprise when it was revealed at E3 2018, and after playing it through to its conclusion, it’s actually exceeded my already high expectations. Whether playing on your own or with a trusty co-op partner, Unravel Two is simply a stunning adventure that you don’t want to miss out on.
Developer: Coldwood Interactive
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: Out Now
Platform(s): PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, PC