After playing the first instalment from the now Unravel series, I knew exactly what I was getting myself into with the second, and it didn’t disappoint me. I’m here to tell you all about that experience, so let’s get started right away.
Unravel Two is a puzzle-platformer which was released on June, 9th 2018 and made by the very talented Swedish indie developers, Coldwood Interactive. The game plays very much like the first where you take control of the protagonist, Yarny, but in this one there is another character you take control of, who is also called, well, Yarny. You can play in two ways, either single player, or if you have a spare controller to hand and a friend, of course, you can play through the game in co-op. It is important to note that it is only local co-op, you can’t team up with a friend in the comfort of your own separate homes and play together.
The story starts on a boat in the ocean at night, with an unforgiving thunderstorm and Yarny onboard drastically fighting the violent and colossal waves until he is overcome and washed overboard. You wake on land with poor little Yarny looking very sorry for himself and as he pulls his body off the floor he looks towards a suitcase, which then opens to reveal the second Yarny, who climbs out and falls to the ground. Both Yarnys come face to face until they link their loose pieces of yarn they become one. The adventure starts there.
Once again, the world you are in is stunning to look at and as full of life as the first one. With a heavy dependence on wood, rocks and water, and other miscellaneous objects to help you through each level you come across. The game quickly moves throughout different environments, from caves to rooftops, fields to factories, each lively and visually pleasing to look at. Every level is just as dynamic as the last, with cars passing in the background or right into the path of both Yarnys, while the wind passes through objects or the rain bounces off the floor on a stormy night, all coming together to really bring the levels to life and adding to the immersion while you play.
The sequel adds more variety when it comes to gameplay, with both Yarnys working together to get past each obstacle using their yarn, in order to control the world and complete whatever puzzles they encounter. I found the gameplay to be very fast and fluent, and when pulled off correctly, moves such as wall jumping or swinging from branch to branch, felt very rewarding. I found the controls anything but a chore, taking very little time to master. Most of the puzzles can be completed with ease, whereas with others I found myself pausing for a moment trying to work them out. These challenges offer a great mix of difficulty to the game so it never becomes too easy.
Just like the first game, you have the main hub where you navigate around to different pictures which then takes you to the many different levels, only this time, instead of being in a house, your hub is set in a lighthouse. With each level you complete, it brings you closer to moving up the lighthouse and unlocking more levels to be played, with each taking an average of around twenty to twenty-five minutes, therefore, it’s not a two-hour game and then you’re done.
There are enemies throughout in the form of shadows, one touch from these and it’s instant death, seeing you restart at the beginning of the area you died in. There is a spark that you follows through each level, so there is never a “where-am-I-supposed-to-go” moment, although that being said, it won’t help you with the puzzles, you’re on your own with that one. Unless, of course, you’re really stuck, then there are hints that can be accessed, with each giving you more detail on how a certain puzzle is solved, until it basically says, “do this, do that, thank you very much, enjoy the rest of the game”.
At first, you start with the original red Yarny, but are then introduced to a blue Yarny. They can, however, be customised from within the pause menu very early on in the game. Head, eyes, body and colour can all be changed to whatever you please from the different options available. I feel this is a great idea, especially for the colour side of the customisation, as many players in the world suffer from colour blindness or other visual problems, so this could help them immensely.
The presentation within Unravel Two is intoxicating. I could hear in great detail everything that was happening around me. Whether it be the trees moving in the wind, water flowing along a stream or rain pouring from the sky, which when added with the music set the tone for the game and complimented the visuals, making it a complete experience that leads you on a rollercoaster of emotions.
As a side note, the developers wanted this game to be more a celebration of youth than the first game’s focus on family. They based many of the levels on their own memories of messing around as children. I personally love things like this, it’s like you get to see a little bit of the lives of the people who put their blood, sweat and tears into making such an outstanding game.
For me, I found Unravel Two just as incredibly fun to play as the first, if not more so, thanks to the addition of a second Yarny into the mix. If you’ve never played an Unravel game or you’re still on the fence then now is the time, you can even play them in backwards order if you so wish, as the stories aren’t linked whatsoever. Also, there is a free Unravel Two theme available on the PlayStation Store if you want to give your PlayStation that extra Unravel treatment. Just search ‘Unravel 2 Theme’ and download away.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*
- Easy controls, I never found them fiddly or hard to execute whatever it was I was trying to do
- Stunning visuals, the world around you really is breathtaking, I often caught myself stopping to look at everything that was going on
- Characters are now customisable, meaning both Yarnys will never get boring to look at, plus the added help for people with colour blindness or other eye problems
- Atmospheric sound, giving you every little detail of the Unravel universe
- Reasonably priced, at just £15.99 it really is a steal for just how good Unravel Two is
- Online co-op isn’t available