Content Type: Gaming Reviews
Date: July 27, 2018
Unravel Two is a 2.5D adventure platformer available for download from the PlayStation Store for the PS4 or within the Unravel Yarny bundle featuring Unravel Two and its prequel. Coldwood Interactive originated in 2003 as five members of Daydream Software’s development team having previously developed Ski Racing 2005 and 2006 on PC, PS2 and Xbox in 2004 and 2005 respectively, Ski-Doo Snow X Racing on PC and PS2 in 2007, FreakOut: Extreme Freeride on PC, PS2 and PSP in 2007, onGOLF on PC in 2008, Ski-Doo Snowmobile Challenge on PS3 and Xbox 360 in 2009, The Fight: Lights Out on PlayStation Move in 2010 and Move Fitness on PlayStation Move in 2013 before progressing onto creating the Unravel series of puzzle platformers on PC, PS4 and Xbox One published on the Electronic Arts Originals range that released in 2016 and 2018 respectively. Can Unravel Two improve upon its prequel to become one of the very best in the adventure puzzle platformer genre?
The story begins with the red Yarny enduring a shipwreck before eventually washing ashore and finding the equally dazed blue Yarny that climbs out of a suitcase; they join their yarn to help each other on their journey to safety following the events of the shipwreck.
Gameplay begins with a tutorial level that teaches players how to overcome obstacles and puzzles, while simultaneously continuing the core story and adventure as the first of 7 story levels. However, it does not end there as there are 20 bonus levels, 43 collectibles to find and 24 medals to earn through completing a story level within a particular amount of time reminiscent to a speedrun, completing a level without having to restart from the previous checkpoint and more besides.
Character customisation includes two types of head, eyes and body complimented by 22 colours at first, while more options can be unlocked via saving friends during challenge levels. Yarnys have a range of abilities including wrapping the two Yarnys together to carry one on the back of the other Yarny, wall jumping, throwing a lasso to swing from a branch, pushing objects, climbing upwards facing vines, creating a trampoline bridge by wrapping yarn from one side of an area to another and more besides.
Environment design comprises of real world elements, objects and materials including rocks, trees, foliage, water and more besides to provide genuinely realistic environments in both the foreground and background. Puzzles are designed specifically for two characters to work together to both be able to progress beyond each obstacle. For instance, separating the two Yarnys with one Yarny using the lasso to tilt a wide tree branch downwards, while the other Yarny wall jumps back and forth until reaching the platform in order to jump onto the tree whereas previously that Yarny would not be able to before standing on the end of the tree to evenly balance the tree branch resulting in the first puzzle solving Yarny being able to release their lasso and wall jump to stand on the tree branch with the second Yarny.
Unravel Two will not be ported to Vita, although it is exactly the type of game the Vita, especially when considering how long it has been since the release of Little Big Planet PS Vita and Tearaway. Unravel Two’s remote play performance is excellent as the graphics, audio and general performance maintains the quality of the PS4 version. There is no remote play control scheme optimisation resulting in throwing a lasso moving to the top right of the rear touch pad and one Yarny holding the other Yarny’s yarn being mapped to the top left of the rear touch pad. Despite the fact that optimised remote play controls involving re-mapping the throwing of the lasso to R and holding onto the yarn being re-mapped to L with slow motion and hints moving to the bottom right and left of the touch screen would have been a much better remote play control scheme; Unravel Two remains a very playable and entertaining remote play experience.
The controls are appropriately mapped to the DualShock 4 controller with the control scheme consisting of pressing R2 to throw a lasso; holding L2 for one Yarny to hold onto the other’s yarn when navigating tricky areas; pressing R1 to enter slow motion; pressing L1 to display a hint; pressing triangle to switch between Yarnys; holding triangle to carry the other Yarny on your Yarny’s back; pressing square to tie yarn to make a trampoline bridge; pressing O to untie yarn; pressing X to jump or wall jump; pressing up, down, left or right on the d-pad to make your Yarny emote; changing the direction of the left analogue stick to move your Yarny; changing the direction of the right analogue stick to move your Yarny’s head to look up, down, left or right; pressing the share button takes you to the share feature menu; and pressing the options button to display the pause menu. The light bar reflects your chosen colour for each Yarny on both controller, although there is no touch pad support that could have provided an alternative to throwing the lasso and swinging by swiping across the touch pad, while there is no vibration on the DualShock 4 controller that could have vibrated after being defeated by an obstacle or enemy and following a heavy landing.
Graphically, Unravel Two is superb as it emphasis graphical detail in both the foreground and background such as rain making contact with a surface, real world objects and elements such as foliage, rocks, tree branches, water and more besides that are complimented by wonderful background artistry including people in rooms and environments or frogs, ducks and fish in a pond. Animations on both character models are excellent as both Yarnys are made from realistic threads of yarn and can be seen traversing through the air by swinging on yarn, jumping on a trampoline bridge, wall jumping and even emoting.
The presentation of the game is solid with a great user interface across various menus such as the title menu, main menu, character customisation menus, options menus and gameplay menus with support for navigation via the left analogue stick, directional pad and face buttons, although it does not include support for navigation via the right analogue stick and touch pad. Menu backgrounds focus on gameplay environments such as rippling water on the title menu and main menu, while pausing gameplay will show the current moment of gameplay.
Sound effects include throwing a lasso, swinging when dangling from yarn, pushing objects, wall jumping, jumping and a magical ringing when making contact with the glowing orb of light, while ambient sound effects such as water rippling, doors being slammed and weather conditions, alongside thought provoking instrumental music. There is no DualShock 4 speaker implementation, although it could have produced any combination of sound effects and ambience.
The trophy list includes 29 trophies with 12 bronze trophies, 10 silver trophies, 6 gold trophies and 1 platinum trophy. Easier trophies include the New Threads bronze trophy for customising a character and the Better Together bronze trophy for completing a level in local co-operative multiplayer. Harder trophies include the Hard and Fast silver trophy for beating every bonus level in under 45 minutes in one go; the half a dozen silver trophies for completing each story level after the tutorial; the half a dozen gold trophies for beating the gold medal times in each level; and the Don’t Go With the Flow silver trophy for travelling from the island with the tables back to the lifebouy in At the Rapids. It is estimated that depending upon skill and a good trophy guide to provide some helpful tips that it would take between 15 to 20 hours to platinum the trophy list.
Unravel Two has no difficulty levels, but it certainly has an ever gradually increasing difficulty curve with new gameplay elements introduced into the mix after a few puzzles have been completed to perfect the previous technique such as wall jumping, throwing a lasso, swinging, creating a trampoline bridge, combining multiple techniques in quick succession and more besides to overcome very challenging puzzles. Enemies and hazards start to make appearances from the second story level onwards including a dark presence depicted in black with a glowing colour that moves back forth on the ground or up and down and back and forth when situated on a vine that can be climbed, while hazards such as electricity and fast moving vehicles also need to be avoided as they will otherwise end up sending the Yarnys back to the most recent checkpoint.
Drop-in/drop-out co-operative multiplayer is quite entertaining allows two players to help each other figure out the puzzles such as pushing piping in the second level to narrow the gap for a wall jump for the other player to reach the top of a previously out of reach platform, while each player can pull the other player’s Yarny up when they have not made a long distance jump or swing. However, there is no online multiplayer and despite the medals for completing levels within a certain period of time; there are no online leaderboards.
Unravel Two’s replayability stems from 7 story levels, 20 bonus levels, 43 collectibles, 24 medals with a range of objectives, character customisation and drop-in/drop-out local co-operative multiplayer that will collectively keep players coming back for more for quite some time.
- Title: Unravel Two
- Developer: Coldwood Interactive
- Publisher: EA Originals
- System: PS4
- Format: PSN Download
- Cross-Buy: No
- Cross-Play: No
- Players: 1-2 (Local Co-operative Multiplayer)
- Hard Drive Space Required: 3.76GB (Version 1.01)