The original Unravel was a charming platformer featuring a creature made from yarn and appropriately called Yarny. It used this concept in an interesting way by letting the player use the yarn as a rope to complete puzzles that revolved around jumping at a large distance or related in some way to the physics by letting you push and pull things. It was a fun platformer that had featured a very stylized look with a focus on the size of Yarny compared to the rest of the world. It basically made you feel like you were controlling a toy in the world which had no means to defend itself since there was no way to use its powers to attack anyone.
Unravel 2 is a sequel to the original game and the developers have taken the name of the game seriously even going as far as to call it ‘Two’ and the reason will become clear once you play it in co-op. As a sequel, Unravel 2 is an entirely co-op focused game where every puzzle and level is created to be enjoyed best in co-op and honestly, I can’t really think of playing it all in solo because the charm of the game and its central theme will be lost in translation.
I have played a lot of co-op games over the year but it is hard to find a good co-op platformer because the game has to be either designed as a solo experience or made from the ground up with co-op in mind. It was hard to find one with a good middle ground working in favor of both approaches. As an example, I think the Rayman Origins and Rayman Legends games were quite fun and challenging if you had someone to play together, but they also worked well on their own. In the case of Unravel Two, the game works the best in multiplayer and can lose its charm if you just play it alone.
Unravel Two is basically an iterative sequel that makes co-op gameplay its center idea. Instead of just controlling a single red Yarny, the game introduces another blue Yarny to the mix. This time, the physics are a lot more important and there is a lot of fine tuning being made to things like the animation system and gameplay in general so it feels a lot smoother to control now.
Why I liked the sequel so much more than the first game is because of the design of levels now, which feature some great puzzles that will make you think hard to figure them out. I am not someone who loves mindless puzzles in a game just for the sake of it, but in the case of Unravel 2, it never felt like the puzzles were forced and each one was a part of the level and carefully designed around the theme for it.
There are just 7 main levels to complete in Unravel 2 but don’t let this distract you since, despite the short level count, the game is absolutely worth it. I say this because each level can take you between 1 to 2 hours depending on how long you take to solve the puzzles or find all the collectibles in case you are going 100% completion. There was one aspect of the game that did feel like it was random and it was the awkward difficulty spike that could suddenly happen in a level making you and your co-op partner stuck for a while.
Once you are done with the main story levels, it is not exactly a game over because there are 20 short challenge levels to attempt. They are one of the toughest platforming challenges in the game so you will need to get a good co-op partner in order to attempt them. The main story levels have medals awarded for completing them without losing health or attempting time trials. I don’t think the length or replay value of the game is an issue here.
The sequel takes the simple design of the first game and adds a carefully crafted narrative to it. There is no story being told here in a traditional way and you will have to piece together what is happening on screen yourself. The game makes its clear by the end with a message directly from the developers that it was about friendship and supporting each other during tough times. It is a heartwarming message that plays out once you complete the game and resonates well with the theme of the game.
Don’t mistake Unravel 2 as an easy game because it will offer plenty of challenge. There are many difficult obstacles or puzzles that will require you to make a precise jump in order to safely pass them. The last level, in particular, ended up being rather annoying to me because of this reason and I was stuck in it with my partner because we weren’t able to make timely jumps together. Despite this, there is still a lot of fun to be had here and as someone who absolutely loved the modern Rayman games, I felt like there was some similarity in the co-op design for both games.
Unravel 2 Review (PS4)
Game description: Unravel Two is a puzzle platform video game developed by Swedish studio Coldwood Interactive and published by Electronic Arts. It was released on 9 June 2018 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
Unravel 2 has managed to outshine its predecessor in every way. It is a great co-op platformer that is smart, charming and challenging at times with a terrific central theme to tie it all together.