Friday, 6 July 2018

Unravel Two ★★★★★

Announced and launched almost simultaneously at E3 is EA's only game that might be interesting to me this year. Not Battlefield, not Anthem, but Unravel Two.  The sequel to the world's only game about the woolly little people that use their woollen intestines, or whatever, to navigate a realistic looking version of our own world, but with an element of fantasy.  Like Toy Story, or The News.

Whereas the original game was focused around one little anthropomorphic woollen chappette, which I assume is female because it has no balls of wool, Unravel two is focused around the teamwork of two of the wee creatures. This allows you to utilise teamwork and therefore a connection of completely new mechanics, alternately using one and then the other to act as anchors to swing from and launch yourself ever upwards, like my career path refuses to do.

Unravel Two, though targeted with a co-op marketing angle, is played comfortably either as co-op or single player. In single player, you would alternate between each character so you can proceed, whereas in co-op you would be yelling at your online companion akin to how my ex-girlfriend used to when neither of us were in the mood to have sex. "No not that bit, hang on to this bit, now let go, no you fucked it up, goddamn it, look you better go your mums calling you for your tea, I'll finish this myself". 

The game is very simple at the beginning in a tutorial that lasts so long it almost feels like the game is being narrated a la ICEY, but once you get past this only slightly tedious tutorial the game becomes a very beautiful and complex platform game. If I'm honest one of the very few mainstream 2D platformers, basically just this and ICEY, that I feel like I've enjoyed in recent years. Unravel Two has perfectly balanced puzzles that allowed me to fwip fwip through the levels like Spiderman and sometimes puzzles I have to think about for a while, before ultimately figuring out so I felt like a genius. Like Spiderman.

In the background of the levels, you see a storyline, implied by translucent characters, which is very engaging despite having to ignore them to fire yourself over bits of a playground or throw yourself through a tiny window.  The core story doesn't seem to have as much of a weight to it as the original, and most of the puzzles have a feeling of 'this would be better in single player' or 'this would be better in co-op'.  The latter is more common, as some of the more fun parts of it, tying yourself to things to create bridges then allowing the other character to push bits of bark over your bridge to reach higher areas, feels like it would be great fun in with a partner, but I never felt like, "this sucks I need to go and make some friends and I can't cos I review video games for a living".

Overall I think this game would be groundbreaking if it wasn't a sequel and nevertheless is one of the best platformers available in modern day gaming and well worth the price of 'some money'.

David Roberts

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