When Coldwood Interactive announced Unravel at E3 2015, its main character Yarny captured everyone’s heart. The adorable little yarn-man’s platforming adventures were fun, and the sudden arrival of a co-op focused sequel lets players share that fun with friends. Unravel Two is a relaxing game and a welcome return for Yarny.
In Unravel Two, Yarny is shipwrecked on an island and must explore the surrounding area with the help of another yarn-based friend. You can play it in single-player, alternating between the two characters with the press of a button, but co-op mode is ideal. I’ve been playing with Kotaku’s summer intern Keoni Nguyen and really enjoy how the game balances challenge and exploration. All the requisite platformer actions are here — jumping, pushing objects to create useful platforms, sliding down slopes — but the game gives players a few special tricks as well. Yarny and his pal are connected by a bit of yarn that has some special uses. You can weave the yarn between two points to create a sort of trampoline, and there’s a variety of ways to swing using it. Sometimes, your partner stands in place as an anchor of sorts. In other moments, you’ll dangle on either side of a platform, allowing new angles to jump from.
In the gameplay above, Keoni and I work through the game’s opening level. Much of it is straightforward platforming, but it’s interspersed with puzzles. At one point, I dangle in place to pull down a platform and open a path for her to progress. Once through, she steps on it and I can get through as well. Unravel Two might not have the most difficult brainteasers, but it’s a great time to sit and talk out the process. “Okay, I’m going to jump here. Yeah, yeah, you can go through there and… oh nice, you got it!” The co-op experience is full of such encouragements. In the times when platforming might get too difficult, Yarny and his friend can merge together, allowing one player to handle all the action. We used it a few times so I could leap over hazards. It’s a great tool for taking charge that feels friendly and respectful.
The scenery is also beautiful. Light peeks through branches and you can see the moss hugging tree bark. The world feels lush and full of possibility, a sense furthered by the game’s mellow music. Games like Inside or Little Nightmares are challenging, but the mood turns oppressive if you play for long sessions. Unravel Two is adventurous but not dire or oppressive, it’s like running around in the woods with a friend.