Unravel is a cute and charming side-scrolling platformer from Coldwood Studios. Originally revealed at EA’s E3 2015 conference, the game stars a character made entirely from Yarn and named ‘Yarny’ appropriately. It features gorgeous visuals that are pleasing to look at and levels that are a delight to explore in the game.
Unravel is a platformer at its core with a simplistic focus on story, which is told entirely through real life photos. It is up to the players to piece together the story through the various photos and vague text that defines the concept of each of the level in the game.
It might be unfair to compare Unravel to another gorgeous looking platformer released in 2015: Ori and the Blind Forest. Nevertheless, the game does appear to have its own share of moments compared to Ori and the Blind Forest but fells a bit short of the height reached by the game. It is gorgeous and often full of fun platforming sections, but it is too simple and short at its core unlike Ori and the Blind Forest. There are a lot of similarities that can be drawn between both games, from their gorgeous visuals to the cute main characters.
The game places the player in a house at the start where they can navigate to the various in-game levels available to them. These levels are represented by framed photographs and are scattered throughout the room in the house. Each of the levels is a rather short experience but it is not completely void of secrets. Each level hides 5 different secret flowers that can be found scattered throughout the level. Each of these secrets unlock new photos, and in that sense, memories for the player to piece together the story of the game.
Unravel also uses the concept of controlling a creature made entirely from Yarn to create some interesting gameplay for a platformer. Players can use the Yarn to solve a variety of puzzles and navigate the environment using them. They can cast the Yarn as a lasso to attach to various points throughout the level, or can use it to pull various objects. Interestingly, the Yarn also allows to create a trampoline using which players can jump even higher. The way this works is that we can connect the Yarn to two different points and it then acts as a rope that can also be used to jump higher.
The game also uses the Yarn to place limitations on the players. For instance, they will have to find out checkpoints that extend the length of the Yarn held by your character, allowing him to explore further in the level. Sometimes, this requires careful navigation through the level to make sure that the least amount of Yarn is utilized before each checkpoint, especially if the player wants to locate each of the secrets.
This unique gameplay is then used to create some great and fun areas to replay, that are full of beautiful locations. In one level, players have to navigate a beach full of crab while in another level there is a snowy hillside. The game never ceases to amaze with its visuals and variety of environments, which are arguably the game’s highlight
Unfortunately with Unravel, Coldwood Studios appears to have closed the door for any potential sequel. It looks more like a singular adventure with a memorable character full of some great moments, but it does fall a bit short in terms of replay value. Once the player is done with all the levels and locating each secret, they won’t really have much to do in the game aside from repeating them. Still, considering the fact that the game is currently being offered for $19.99, it shouldn’t be missed based on the unique experience it offers.
Unravel is available now on the PC, PS4 and Xbox One. It was developed by Coldwood Studios and published by Electronic Arts. This review covers the Xbox One version of the game.
Unravel is absolutely gorgeous to behold but it is held back by its simple gameplay design. Yarny is great and the game does a remarkable job of building his character and making players care for him.