It’s become an unofficial E3 tradition that at least one game gets released immediately after its reveal. This year was no different, as we saw the release of Unravel 2 following its unveiling at EA Play. Like the first game, Unravel 2 was developed by Coldwood Interactive and published by EA. Yarny returns, but after getting shipwrecked in the opening cinematic he finds himself stranded, but not alone. A second yarny is joining the adventure! The two must work together to restore a lighthouse and signal for help. This lighthouse serves the hub from which players can choose levels and access challenge levels.
A Helping Hand
Unraveled 2’s strong emphasis on co-op is what single-handedly separates it from the first game. It changes the way you maneuver through levels and adds a very much needed new dynamic to solving puzzles. From the very beginning of the story, the two Yarny’s are physically bound together, this sets the tone narratively and practically for the rest of the game. This aspect really worked for me. It forced me to think more critically when approaching obstacles, while also making for some fun new methods of world traversal.
I’d highly recommend finding a buddy to pair up with in order to get the full range of what this world has to offer. Unfortunately, Unravel 2 doesn’t support online multiplayer, so let it be known that your experience will be limited to couch co-op. If you’re struggling to find friends that are into anthropomorphic yarn stuff, Unravel 2 does offer a single player mode in which one character fluently switches between the two yarnys. I still enjoyed the game while playing solo, but be aware that it does up the difficulty factor.
A Whole New World
Like in the first title, Unravel 2 features 7 different chapters, each taking place in very different and unique locations. The environments featured throughout this game are just down right stunning. The soft yet realistic backgrounds along with a pretty cute art style cooperate to recreate the same sense of warmth and fuzziness as the first entry in this series. Even if you aren’t a hardcore fan of puzzle-platformers, the beautiful visuals alone may make Unravel 2 worth the price of admission.
Threading The Needle
The puzzles in Unravel 2 strikes a perfect balance between simple and challenginging. They’re enough to stump you a couple of times, but not frustrating enough to make you launch your controller across the room. Even if you do find yourself in a rut, there are more than enough checkpoints to help you out. Although the surplus of checkpoints saved my butt several times throughout the story, I felt as though it strongly diminished any sense of failure or consequence. Those looking for mind-bending puzzles and unforgiving mechanics that’ll push them to their wits end may walk away from Unravel 2’s campaign a tad bit disappointed.
Once completing each chapter, a set of mini challenge levels will be unlocked. These will appeal to more hardcore players, as they present a true test of skill, timing, and a strong overall understanding of the games mechanics. Upon beating these challenges more of Yarny's friends will be freed, providing players with more customization options in the menu.
Tying It Together
Overall, Unravel 2 is an adequate follow up to 2016’s indie darling. It hosts a plethora of new puzzles that force players to think, but without making them go mad. Too many checkpoints may turn off players looking for a genuine challenge, though. The all new dynamic of co-op really gives a jolt of energy to this game; Without that new component I’m afraid Unravel 2 would’ve just felt like a level expansion. Those that really dug the first Unravel will love what its sequel has to offer.
This review is based on an Xbox One digital release. The key was provided by the publisher. Unravel 2 is available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. The game is rated E.