Missing a stitch
There’s a lot of heart in Unravel Two. There’s some real love and thought and compassion seeping out of it and that’s to be commended. It’s a game that ramps up rather nicely as the various meanings of being a character made of yarn and all of the vulnerabilities and strengths that comes to embody it are revealed and made apparent. It’s a game that should be a real tearjerker by its conclusion. But it didn’t quite hit us that hard.
So, as we concluded the four or so hours of Unravel Two, we were left wondering what was missing? The game has made significant strides forward from its forebear with much improved platforming being the biggest change. The game feels tighter and more controlled than before, which is good. It also looks fantastic with some great level design and that same dense, rich feel to the world. Many of the levels are also set either at night or in darker areas, which despite the bright, hopeful feel of the game overall, actually works really well. It brings a little edge and threat that the original game was sorely lacking.
And there’s tandem character/co-op gameplay, which is a welcome addition too. It brings a whole new dimension to the puzzle platforming as you can either control each yarn character with a friend or switch between them manually on your own. Either way works really well, as thinking about the right place to put each character and how you can use the link of yarn between them can be a nice head-scratcher. There is, however, no real mind-bogglers in there. The pace of the game seemingly taking precedence over any challenge in the central story campaign.
And other than an unheralded and sharp difficulty spike in the last couple of chapters, the real test comes from the 20 challenge levels, with a new set opening up every couple of chapters. These are genuinely difficult, requiring good timing of your swings, but also a lot of improvisation, as you won’t always know what comes next or where you’re heading.
But still, something is missing and in essence it’s that there’s something slightly safe about the experience. The attention to detail and the use of a background story throughout of two kids escaping together speaks to a real passion and depth of feeling in the game-makers, but like a piece of art outside a multinational bank, there’s an air of the artificial about it. We feel rather harsh saying so, but its beats feel so similar to Journey and Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons that it feels like a solid homage more than something standing on its own terms. For something light and enjoyable, we would certainly recommend it, but don’t expect this one to reach down and really grab a hold of your soul. VERDICT
A fine continuation on the original’s promise
As you play through the game you’ll see a story play out in smoky outlines of kids running away from adults. How much impact you’re having or how much is just a memory is left to you to figure out.
There’s a moodier edge to proceedings in Unravel Two and we like the shift as it brings some much needed darkness to contrast with the cute Yarny characters. A threat appears to hang in the air even if it never really arrives.