Unravel Two Review: Can Two Yarnys Form a Close-Knit Camaraderie?
Unravel Two is a sequel to the platforming game of the same name (bar the "Two", of course), which is developed by Coldwood Interactive and published by Electronic Arts. This sequel follows the story of not one, but two Yarnys, both of whom can be controlled by either one or two players in local co-op.
The tale begins with the red Yarny from the first game being washed ashore on an island by a horrendous storm. There, the red Yarny immediately befriends a blue Yarny and their threads conjoin via a mysterious light, which will guide them throughout the rest of the game.
This connection is significant, as many of Unravel Two's puzzles revolve around clever use of the thread.
Unravel Two's first chapter, which acts as a tutorial, is likely the game's weakest segment, with hardly any puzzles and no real challenges to overcome. That is usually not a problem for most games -- an introduction to a game's mechanics is often welcome, especially if it's targeting a younger audience -- but I quickly grew bored with and had to push myself toward, what I hoped would be, much more engaging levels ahead.
Subsequent chapters can be accessed via the game's Lighthouse, which is unlocked after completing the tutorial and acts as a hub from there on. And what's more, after completing Chapter II, the first set of bonus levels is unlocked in the Lighthouse. These are short, increasingly challenging levels which revolve around saving other Yarnys from captivity. Successful completions of each bonus level reward players with additional options for customizing a Yarny: such as thier appearance and color.
The bonus levels, however, are completely optional and can be ignored entirely.
A Yarn Good Time
Unravel Two begins to the shine the further you get into it by adding more complex puzzles to the platforming formula; thankfully, it gradually becomes satisfyingly difficult.
Puzzles are sufficiently challenging, requiring constant switching between Yarnys (which is seamless) during a solo run, as well as incorporating the use of a thread and surrounding objects. And although most puzzles usually don't take more than a few minutes to solve, there's a handy feature that provides helpful hints at the push of a button. I seldom used it and depending on your experience with platformer/puzzlers, you may never use it either. However, it's a great option to have for younger players -- and one that doesn't sully the experience for more seasoned players.
Likewise, there's also a feature that slows down time during platforming sequences. This mechanic is especially useful for attempting the game's time trials, as the amount by which time is slowed can be adjusted in the options menu.
And as you might have guessed, there is no combat in the game, but certain enemies are present, all of whom must be avoided. As ridiculous as it may sound, fleeing from a humongous turkey ready to peck your yarn out is no joke.
Weaving a "Story" Within Beautiful Locales
From the moment you start Unravel Two, it's obvious the game is pleasantly beautiful. Even though it's nothing that will blow you way, there's a serene atmosphere about the game, which is further accentuated by a captivating musical score.
Overall, chapters are diverse, with distinguishing locales, events, and puzzles unique to each particular stage. Like with many games in the genre, the scenery of Unravel Two consists of several layers -- some backdrops being gorgeous indeed -- and differentiating between objects in the foreground from those in the background is never an issue.
Story doesn't play a pivotal role in Unravel Two, but there is enough context provided to keep you and the Yarnys moving forward.
Yarnys themselves seem to exist in a parallel universe -- indicated by the many human characters only appearing in phantom-like forms throughout the game. The mysterious light, on the other hand, acts as a mediator between the two worlds, capable of affecting the human world after certain puzzles are solved -- and saving the human children from a distress as a result.
There could be a deeper meaning to the game that I simply missed. Nonetheless, the ending leaves you with a positive sensation -- as if you've accomplished a good deed in the end.
The main story shouldn't take more than four to five hours to complete -- but it feels sufficient. More playtime can be added by attempting time trials, gathering collectables scattered across chapters, and completing bonus levels -- many of which are more challenging than those found in the main chapters.
Although I enjoyed Unravel Two, I found certain climbing sections awkward, lacking animation in comparison to the rest of the game. The tutorial also felt like a drag and the story wasn't overly engaging.
However, even without dialogue, I enjoyed the cute interactions between Yarnys, the relaxing atmosphere accompanied by a beautiful soundtrack, and coming up with solutions to the various conundrums in a magical world.
There is a lot to like about Unravel Two and the few shortcomings don't compromise the overall adventure.
If you've made up your mind, Unravel Two is available digitally on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, and for more reviews on latest releases stay tuned right here on GameSkinny.
[Note: The developer provided the copy of Unravel Two used in this review.]