There's a delightful simplicity and intuitiveness about a good platformer. And Unravel Two understands that well.
Welcome to one of the most charming games of 2018. In Unravel Two, the follow-up to 2016's Unravel, you're cast once again as Yarny, a tiny, mobile yarn-person in a massive world. Your task is basic even though the motives are never quite clear: Navigate through the chapters until the game is over.
This simple task has rarely been this much fun. In Unravel Two, you get to tackle all the goodness with a teammate. A second Yarny is on the quest, and is easily controlled by either you or a coop partner.
Either way, both Yarnies embark on a journey through a visually lush world; developer Coldwood Interactive delivers a series of fantastic locations that add to the game's charm. You'll go everywhere from the forest to a somewhat busy street, taking in all the scenery as an ultra-tiny yarn-creature. Unravel Two draws you in from its earliest moments; the water glistens with realism. Coldwood put plenty of time into the art design and visual quality of this title; that's assured.
The gameplay, meanwhile, builds on simple but familiar ideas. At its heart, this is a puzzle platformer. That requires precise control of Yarny, and Unravel Two offers that. You'll need to use both Yarnies for many puzzles, but you're never penalized for playing by yourself; I played the entire campaign alone and never once wished I had a teammate.
The puzzles and platforming sequences are smart, and early on, the game does a fantastic job of teaching you its mechanics. Yarny can do all the platforming basics, in addition to latching onto and swinging from various spots. The second Yarny adds more intrigue; combined, the two can create yarn bridges and springboard moments. Coldwood insures that you needn't feel burdened by the second Yarny, too, by letting you "absorb" the other Yarny at the press of a button, making more twitch-based platforming sequences less of a headache.
The inventiveness of the puzzling and platforming builds, but never to such a crescendo that it becomes taxing or frustrating. Unravel Two goes out of its way to insure you can solve every puzzle, too, thanks to a hint system that essentially tells you exactly what you need to do if you get stuck. You activate this with a button-push, though, so purists won't be forced out of any challenge they may encounter.
The story mode is a relaxing playthrough, complete with a few scenes that tell some kind of tale. That tale isn't necessary watching, but it breaks up gameplay sequences well; Unravel Two is very well-paced. And if you want more gameplay after that, there are a series of challenge levels that demand everything from puzzle-solving skills to quick-twitch jumping and swinging.
You very well may want more, too, because Unravel Two plays that well. This is the kind of game that doesn't overcomplicate anything, preferring instead to maximize classic gameplay mechanics and deliver them in a visually arresting world.
It's the kind of game that's plenty of fun.
Unravel Two -- 4 out of 5 stars
Reviewed on Sony PlayStation 4 Pro
Available on PS4, Xbox One, PC ___
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