REVIEW: Unravel Two - Nintendo Switch
Updated: Jun 8
Unravelling the secret to successful co-op?
For fans of Unravel - by Swedish developers ColdWood Interactive - a sequel was always going to be welcome. 2 years after its predecessor was released in 2016, Unravel Two came to Playstation, Xbox and Windows in 2018 and the Nintendo Switch in 2019. I recently got the opportunity to play Unravel Two after finishing Unravel last year and there were a few changes, to say the least.
First of all, Unravel Two is all about the co-operative aspect of the game. Although you can play independently, I believe you can get more out of this game by utilising the couch co-op feature. In Unravel, players play as Yarny, a small red creature made up of, well yarn! In Unravel Two we are introduced to two new yarn characters who start out as red and blue however players are given the option to customise their yarn however they want. The two yarn characters are bonded together by joining their loose ends and so becoming attached to each other. They must then, like Unravel, traverse a series of environments and solve simple puzzles to keep up with a spark of light, which guides them through their travels. Meanwhile, a series of flashbacks play out in the background, telling the story of two kids who escape a tumultuous home life.
I played Unravel Two with my partner as we usually play most games together. I had previously played Unravel and although he had seen parts of it, he hadn’t played it himself. This didn’t make things difficult for him though as the game made sense and was easy enough to pick up without prior knowledge of the previous title. Together we made our way through several different surroundings including; the ocean, the countryside, the forest, an old factory and more. With many obstacles and puzzles needing us to literally work together to solve. For example, there were many instances where a path was impassable without using the other player, in fact, I am unsure of how you would be able to solve these complications without a player 2. My guess is gaining control of both Yarny’s and swapping between them. Anyway, there was constantly occasions where one Yarny had to drop down and swing off the other one’s yarn, pull the other to safety, etc. etc. This made for some great co-op as you had to strategically plan and communicate or it’s game over. The only issue you could run into here is arguments, if one Yarny runs left and the other right, you’ll just end up going nowhere and snapping back together. So, it’s best to play with someone that you know you work well with. Failing this, you can always morph one Yarny into another. For example, if there is an intricate piece of manoeuvring needed, sometimes it is best to morph together and let one player perform it so that there is less of a chance of one Yarny accidentally sabotaging the both of you.
As someone who has played both games, I found this sequel to have a few differences to the original game. For starters, Unravel Two was a little visually inadequate when compared to Unravel, which is saying something considering the 2 year gap in which it would usually improve. I felt like I could see Yarny’s individual strands in the first game however in Unravel Two, the colouring made the Yarny’s look much blockier and more cartoony. This could be due to the Yarny’s appearing smaller on screen (compared to Unravel) to allow both Yarny’s to remain on a single screen. Which came with its own problems if you are short sighted like me! I also thought the story was heavier this time around with the first focusing on an elderly woman’s memories of her life, some sweet and some slightly gloomier. However, Unravel Two seemed to just tell the story of the two kids who escape some kind of turbulent home life, are mistreated by strangers and end up narrowly escaping a forest fire?! It kind of took away the adorable handmade, old lady aesthetic from the previous game. Which undid a few things as I was under the impression that Yarny was created due to the elderly woman’s love and memories, but apparently more of them exist? If you don’t think too hard about it, or just play one of the games in this series, this isn’t really a problem at all.
I really enjoyed my time playing Unravel Two, even if it was only loosely connected to Unravel. The couch co-op experience I had with this game has encouraged me to give more co-op games a try, especially ones with short chapters like this one did. It meant my partner and I were able to fit in a quick game after dinner or before work as we slowly worked our way through the levels. My last and only real gripe with the game is the usual one which is that it is again, too short. The entire game is only made up of 7 chapters that are around 30 or so minutes in length, according to howlongtobeat.com it takes an average of around 5 hours to complete the main story, with optional extras and bonus levels available too. However, these kind of “indie” games (if you were to categorise this as that) work best when they are short and sweet in my opinion.
Unravel and Unravel Two are currently on sale on the PlayStation Store for less than £10 each. Unravel Two is also available on the Nintendo eShop and PC.