Unravel Two (Switch) Review

Epic Yarny

I’ve had my fair share of wonderful memories handing a Joy-Con controller to my wife and enjoying a game together. Co-op games are well-suited to the Nintendo Switch, and Swedish developer Coldwood and EA’s Unravel Two is no exception. The puzzle platformer costars sentient yarn creatures called Yarny, who can, fittingly, be customized and color-coded to match the Switch’s Joy-Con colors.

Here’s my Video Review for your viewing pleasure!

You don’t need any prior familiarity with the original Unravel to appreciate this sequel. But it’s worth noting that, true to its name, Unravel Two’s major upgrade allows players to control two Yarnies. As they are bound together by a yarn string, they cannot stray far from one another. While this may sound limiting, their versatile fabric strand enables them to get across obstacles. Both characters can use yarn as a lasso, a swing, or a trampoline-like bridge. Every puzzle tasks players to cleverly utilize their single strand and interact with the impressively huge environment to help both Yarnies reach shiny sparks.

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The Yarnies’ default colors are Joy-Con red and Joy-Con blue.

The theme is teamwork. Sometimes there isn’t an object to grab, so you may need to use one Yarny as a fulcrum while the other swings off of its partner. The strongest puzzles highlight cooperation and emphasize the importance of what you loop your yarn string across. Despite this, there are multiple areas where the solution only requires one Yarny to reach a certain point while the other…waits. The idle Yarny can then rappel up to its companion using the conjoined string. As such, many of the earlier puzzles only needs one player to do most of the legwork, which kind of throws the “co-op” feature under the bus. Of course, this makes Unravel Two an excellent candidate for playing alongside younger or inexperienced gamers.

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It’s like Tangled, except there’s no cute chameleon mascot.

In general, two-player is the ideal way to experience this game, and synergized movement helps during later segments that ask for more synchronicity. The gameplay is relaxed enough that I also found value simply in talking through puzzles with my partner and working them out together. However, as not everyone can take advantage of the local-only multiplayer, it’s convenient that Unravel Two is completely playable in single-player. Aside from some possibly tougher moments towards the end, there is no major technical downside to going solo. You can freely switch between Yarnies, and in most puzzles, moving one at a time is sufficient. For more action-based segments, you can ravel the two characters together into a single Yarny, whether playing co-op or solo.

Having one combined Yarny streamlines the platformer portions, which I appreciate are occasionally fast-paced albeit the game’s slower puzzle nature. Most of these sections incorporate the Yarny’s lasso mechanics, leading to kinetic swinging sequences reminiscent of Spider-Man or Donkey Kong Country. Other segments feature enemies, but should you die at any point, you’ll return to one of the many frequent checkpoints. My favorite chapter involved a giant bird chasing our yarn heroes, forcing the two to distract the feathery fiend, solve puzzles, and swing like a bionic commando just to survive.

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The Grouse is loose.

With seven linear levels, the campaign isn’t long and will run most players about five to six hours. Most of that time will likely be spent on the tricky final puzzles. The story mode’s first half has fairly simple brain teasers, but difficulty rises progressively towards the latter half, where I found myself stumped during certain parts. It rarely took me more than about 10-15 minutes to get past a section, especially since some solutions tend to repeat along the way. But for those newer to the genre, there is a tiered hint system in place. The first two optional clues guide the player, and the final hint offers a step-by-step walkthrough. Overall, I was pleased with the difficulty balance. For those seeking a harder experience, there are also 20 additional challenges that range from advanced puzzles to devious platforming sections. These single-screen trials significantly increase the replay value, just on account of how hard they are. Replaying chapters to locate hidden collectibles and attempting no-death speed-runs are also options for the hardcore, though it’s not a feat that will appeal to everyone.

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It’s on like Donkey Kong.

I can’t finish without praising the presentation. The Yarnies are small creatures, and thus run through their relatively gigantic environment like a pair of Pikmin. The photorealistic graphics lend a natural larger-than-life feel, and brilliant lighting makes the scenery pop off the screen. You even witness a story unfold between two kids who are trying to escape from adults. It’s a vague plot told through transparent ephemeral images and lacking any dialogue, but I was legitimately surprised to find any semblance of narrative.

It’s worth noting that you can optimize the game for either graphics or performance. I preferred graphics as the game rarely slowed down despite its lower frame rate, and the visuals looked hideous in performance mode, more so when the Switch was undocked. Finally, the soundtrack comprised of masterful Celtic folk music is utterly lovely. The well-composed songs, combined with the Yarnies’ story, left me emotional by the end.

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Unbearably cute.

Conclusion

Unravel Two is a game with many layers. On the surface lies a cooperative puzzle platformer about two adorable yarn creatures. Underneath are meaningful narratives about escaping to safety and working together to form a brighter future. Even deeper are bittersweet and heartfelt messages about companionship, love, and the ties that bind. Coldwood’s little game about two tiny Yarnies on a grand adventure has an astounding depth that is fun to unravel.

Score: 8/10

Note: A review copy was used for this article. This review was posted on DarkStation.

What do you think of Unravel Two? What are your favorite co-op games? How about your favorite puzzle platformers? Please share your thoughts or questions in the comments section below! Thank you so much for reading and watching!

 

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12 thoughts on “Unravel Two (Switch) Review

  1. Great review! Yarntastic even! 😉 I thought Unravel Two was such a very clever puzzle platformer. The Yarnies very much resemble Pikmin in a giant photorealistic world. I had a lot of fun playing co-op…even if I ended up being the one that didn’t do much, waited around, and just rappeled up… XD I just couldn’t get the hang of the swinging. This game reminded me of playing Degrees of Separation. Or Snipperclips: Cut it out…TOGETHER! I want to play more co-op puzzle games now! More yarn games too hehe. There are no strings on me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and awesome support! Your encouragement always means a lot to me! I’m glad you enjoyed Unravel Two as much as I did. The Yarnies are so cute, the puzzles are great, and the music is oh so good. The Switch is on a roll with fun co-op games. Snipperclips, Degrees of Separation, Overcooked, Death Squared, so much fun. It seems like Nintendo is also on a roll with yarn and fabric games too. After Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn and Yoshi’s Crafted World, Unravel Two is my third yarn-related video game review in a row!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s certainly charming, and I have read quite a bit about it (including your review) that made me feel I would love it if I gave it a shot. Yet, it’s one of those games that has been on my radar for a while, but that I never got around to playing. Maybe I’ll get to it down the line.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Unravel Two is a short and sweet game, and if you think you’d like it, I think it’s worth a try sometime. Playing through this one actually made me want to go back and try out the first Unravel, though I’d miss the 2 Yarny co-op element, I think. Still, if it ever came out on Switch…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Maybe it will. When I first heard about the game I wondered whether the “Two” thing meant it was a sequel or if it was actually part of its title, because I had never heard of the original.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s amazing how many games about yarn have come out in the last 10 years or so. I wish I’d bought stock. The levels are beautiful, and the team mechanics look really dynamic and fun! Weirdly too, all these yarn games tend to have really good co-op modes. I’m glad you pointed out the Pikmin similarity, I kept thinking this was very reminiscent of that. I like the score that’s sampled in the video as well!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha, I know right? Unravel Two is the third yarn-based video game review I’ve done in a row! Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn, Yoshi’s Crafted World, and now this. At least they’re all pretty good. I need to buy out Michael’s at this point, make my own fabric games haha. And yeah, they all work with co-op. I think these are the kinds of games where you bring in someone else who doesn’t play games or is new to them, help them get accustomed with the beautiful fabric graphics, and assist them with the puzzles and platforming. Oh yeah Pikmin! Woo, I hope a new Pikmin for Switch will look even better. And the music is so wonderful, so I’m glad you appreciate it. Thank you for your great comments and wonderful support! 😀

      Like

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