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Unravel Two review for Xbox One, PS4


Platform: Xbox One
Also On: PS4, PC
Publisher: EA
Developer: Coldwood Interactive
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-2
Online: No
ESRB: E

It should probably go without saying that a game designed as a co-op platformer is better experienced as a, you know, co-op platformer, but sometimes you need to experience something first hand before it sinks it. Case in point: Unravel Two. I’d played it a couple of times solo, and it never really clicked for me. By pure chance, however, I happened to start playing it one time when my wife happened to be nearby, and, in an extremely rare occurrence, she asked if she could play as well.

Turns out, that was just the thing to make it fun. Despite the fact that my wife is indifferent to games at the best of times, she was completely taken in by the adorable aesthetic and relatively straightforward gameplay. True, I had to walk her through some of the sections, but Unravel Two is nothing if not relatively forgiving, plus it allows you to merge your characters into one, which can help speed things along in certain sections. I’m not saying that it’ll turn people with no interest in gaming into gamers or anything — but, at the same time, I later overheard my wife telling her sister on the phone about the fun game she’d played involving characters made of yarn.

Is Unravel Two as fun when played solo? Definitely not since, again, it was clearly designed with two-player co-op in mind. While the puzzles are doable on your own, they’re much easier to solve when you have a second person there with you. In many ways, this game reminds me of LittleBigPlanet’s co-op sections stretched out to a whole game, right down to moderately floaty jumping (though it’s nowhere near as bad an offender in this respect as LBP was) and the ridiculously cute characters. It’s also worth noting that there are only seven levels here, and it’s much easier to blow through them playing alone than it is playing with others.

That would be a shame on multiple levels. First, because it deprives you of the fun of playing Unravel Two with someone, and working out the not-too-challenging puzzles as a team. More importantly, though, spending less time with Unravel Two means spending less time with this adorable world. If the first Unravel was special in part because of the adorable main character, Yarny, Unravel Two shows that having two playable Yarnies (or, as the game prefers to stylize them, the Game of Thrones-sounding “Yarnys”) isn’t too much of a good thing.

In fact, you could say the same about everything to do with Unravel Two. It’s a quick, fun experience that you can get through in just a few hours. If that’s not enough to make you grab a friend and enjoy, I don’t know what is.

Electronic Arts provided us with an Unravel Two Xbox One code for review purposes.

Grade: A-