Unravel Two review: It takes two to make a thing go right

Credit: EA
Credit: EA /

Yarny is back in Unravel Two! This time, though, he’s got a friend and together they must traverse through some gorgeous environments on a journey about companionship.

Title: Unravel Two
Developer: Coldwood Interactive
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platforms: PS4 (version reviewed), Xbox One, PC
Release Date: June 9, 2018

At E3 2018, Electronic Arts surprised us by not just announcing Unravel Two, but releasing it the very same day. A sequel to 2016’s charming, emotionally-charged puzzle-platformer, Unravel Two borrows many of its predecessor’s gameplay mechanics and builds upon them with the addition of multiplayer.

The sequel once again puts you in control of Yarny, an adorable anthropomorphic creature made of yarn. The game begins with Yarny on the high seas in the middle of a storm. When a massive wave overturns the ship, Yarny awakes to find himself shipwrecked on a foreign shore – his spark broken off, rendering him unable to perform all of the platforming powers from the first game.

This moment is shortlived, however, as the second you awake on the island you are introduced to a second Yarny character who crawls out of a suitcase. It’s an odd way to introduce the character as we literally have no idea where it came from (other than presumably the ship). In any case, the two characters intertwine, creating a new spark and kicking off co-op gameplay.

Much of Unravel Two‘s core gameplay mechanics are still in place. The game makes use of clever physics-based puzzles that require you to swing from platforms, build bridges and manipulate items within the environment itself. Only this time around, there is an emphasis on teamwork.

Whether playing with a friend or solo, you’ll have to think about how your partner will be of use in solving the puzzle. In most cases, it involves one of the characters serving as an anchor point while the other uses them to swing between platforms, crawl up a wall or safely spelunk down a pit. You’d think being the anchor in this situation would be boring, but Unravel Two finds a way to keep both players engaged. In most cases, puzzles require both characters be used so you’re never left feeling helpless.

That doesn’t mean you have to play with a friend, though. While co-op feels like a natural fit for Unravel Two, the user-friendly controls allow for solo gameplay where one player can easily switch between the two characters. There’s even a mechanic that lets the two Yarny characters become one making it easier to traverse certain portions of the chapter (although you will have to break apart quite frequently so solve puzzles). Admittedly, it’s a bit awkward at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be seamlessly swinging and jumping between platforms with ease. Whether playing solo or with a friend, once you master the controls, the physics of the platforming in Unravel Two – when done properly – begins to feel like an eloquent dance.

Make no mistake though, Unravel Two is undoubtedly meant to be played with a friend. Its emphasis on companionship and love isn’t only expressed by the gameplay, but in the story as well. More on that later, however.

Unravel Two emphasizes platform gameplay more than puzzle-solving, though initially dissecting the platforming challenges will require some careful thought. There were a few moments where I got stuck and thankfully, the game’s hint system is infinitely better than the first. You are given three clues: two pretty vague ones to get you on track and a final third one that reveals exactly what you must do.

I’d be remiss to talk about Unravel Two and not mention its breathtaking graphics and marvelous soundtrack. The game keeps with the same aesthetic as the first title, layering its gameplay on top of gorgeous backdrops that range from lush, green forests to darkened, dreary cities – each offering their own form of beauty. Adding to the beautiful visuals is a captivating soundtrack that perfectly captures the mood of the setting.

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Also playing out in the background is a vague story that I suppose attempts to give purpose to what you’re doing. The story plays out in small sequences during your gameplay, appearing at times as though they are foggy memories. From what I gather, it’s about two children working together to escape what appears to be a not-so-good group home. It’s meant to parallel and give purpose to the co-op gameplay mechanic, but the overall storytelling in this form just falls short for me.

Unravel Two consists of seven chapters, each ranging between 15 and 20 minutes of gameplay. Thought the environments and puzzles are engaging, they do feel a little long and repetitive at times. Collectibles are once again hidden throughout each chapter, giving you a little incentive to replay the game. For those of you who enjoy speedrunning through games, there are target time goals for each chapter as well. And when you’re completely finished with the main chapters, there’s a completely separate set of side challenges for you to complete.

Unravel Two is a fantastic follow-up to 2016’s indie-darling from Coldwood Interactive. Furthermore, it’s proof that EA isn’t solely focused on putting out AAA blockbusters that often nickel-and-dime gamers with loot boxes and season passes. Unravel Two is a tightly-woven, unique puzzle-platforming experience that can be enjoyed over the course of a few hours.

Coldwood Interactive has once again delivered a beautiful and charming puzzle-platformer with <em>Unravel Two</em>. While many of the core gameplay mechanics from the first game remain in place, the addition of a second Yarny keeps things interesting.. Electronic Arts. . Unravel Two (PlayStation 4). 9

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.