Unravel Two on PlayStation 4
Unravel Two has literally come out of nowhere. Although its predecessor was fairly well received when it released back in 2015, people hadn’t been clamoring for the next adventure the adorable Yarny would embark on. Yet, ColdWood Interactive and EA have paired together once again to bring Unravel Two to the table with excellent co-op functionality to boot.
The game starts things off pretty abruptly, with Yarny seemingly on a quest out on the high seas when, sadly, things go awry. After a large wave knocks Yarny out of the ship and into the sea, its spark is broken, leaving it somewhat powerless and unable to do all of those crazy platforming techniques that we saw in its previous adventure. Fortunately, it doesn’t take long for Yarny to meet a new, blue friend that opens up the familiar platforming that we saw in 2015’s release, to a new co-op dynamic.
It’s actually these early story moments that feel a little rough. Yarny is stripped of its power, but before you even begin to take control of the little woolen fella, it has already stumbled upon its companion… that was hiding in a chest… right next to where Yarny finds itself washed ashore. For those of you who have played the first title, though, you’ll already know that the story in Unravel, while certainly heartfelt and prevalent at times, tends to play out in the background of all of your platforming antics.
Unravel Two follows this design, with human silhouettes playing out the ‘story’, so to speak, silently in the background of each level. This time, Unravel Two follows the story of two friends as they grow old, going from innocent past times, to the more sinister ones as they reach their teen years. Honestly, the story didn’t grab me, and due to the fact it’s literally pushed into the background, it’s easy to miss little details, or just forget about it entirely.
As was the case with the first Unravel, its sequel’s backdrops and environments look stunning, with Yarny and its blue counterpart looking just as detailed. Rogue fibers of thread can be seen standing on end, out of place, while the lush deep colors of the vegetation contrast against the dull grays of weathered rock and the pale blues of the sky above. Presentation-wise, Unravel Two looks magical. From these tiny details, to the way that Yarny glides and swings so smoothly across the screen, ColdWood Interactive has clearly put some elbow grease into polishing this up.
While Unravel Two is certainly intended to be played in co-op, if you don’t have anyone to be the blue Yarny to your red, you can play solo. Unravel Two uses a neat mechanic that allows one Yarny to carry the other – essentially merging the two woolen entities into one – allowing a single player to traverse around levels easily, while being able to break them into their separate selves for those moments you need an additional… string of yarn. During our time with Unravel Two, we played the game in both solo and co-op, with the latter definitely being the best way to experience the game. If you don’t have someone to play co-op with, Unravel Two isn’t a complete write-off like A Way Out, but some of the puzzles will feel a little more finicky since they were clearly designed for co-op play.
The addition of this extra Yarny makes for far more enjoyable platforming. There’s an added wrinkle to think about every time you come across an obstacle, or series of obstacles, you must solve as a puzzle; what role does your partner play in this? You’ll be using one another as anchor points, using the yarn that binds you together to catapult you across large gaps, and guiding the string of yarn over obstacles in certain ways so that you can easily climb it to revisit a hard-to-reach spot again a little further down the line. Co-op feels like a natural fit for the gameplay found in Unravel Two, and if we do happen to see more of Yarny in the future, this absolutely has to stay.
Unfortunately, the actual amount of content in Unravel Two’s story may be a little on the short side. Its seven story levels can be completed in under five hours, perhaps even less if you’re a seasoned platformer fan, and while there are time trials and other challenges to complete in each level, I imagine only the most dedicated of players will revisit these to tick them all off.
Although the difficulty of Unravel Two’s platforming may never reach fever pitch in its story, the game does have a number of Challenge levels that certainly up the ante, each of which can be accessed from the game’s hub world upon completing each of the main story levels. Completing Challenge levels also unlocks additional customization options for your Yarny, making them a bit more than just a fun distraction. Though, additional customization options in a game with little longevity and no online play may seem redundant to some.
Unravel Two may not have been at the top of players’ wishlists, even those who enjoyed the first, but the addition of co-op breathes fresh air into its yarn-based platforming. There’s still not a whole lot of content here, and its additional Challenge levels will ultimately depend on if you’re desperate to put your skills to the test, but if you want to embark on another platforming adventure, you could do a lot worse than Unravel Two.
Score: 4/5 – Great
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