It is quite a bold move to say “our next game will be cooperative play only”, which is exactly what Josef Fares did with A Way Out. As Coldwood is a Swedish developer just like Hazelight, with EA as publisher just like Hazelight, I can’t help but thinking they were inspired.
I really like this part of Unravel 2, that you join forces with a friend and solve the puzzles together. What I also like, that A Way Out doesn’t have, is that you can solve every puzzle and play the whole game by switching between the two yarnies, playing coop with yourself. I played this game mostly with my 7yo son, and when he got tired of it or wasn’t around I finished the levels on my own and that worked fine.
Just like the previous game, the art and graphics are absolutely gorgeous. There is some trick Coldwood pulls to make the Swedish nature really come to life in the game. It is hard to describe but a really treat to the eyes. Also the music is fantastic. It fits perfectly with the scenes and it puts me right into the woods of northern Sweden. These two aspects of the game are top notch!
Then we have the same trouble with the controls in this game as we did with the previous. During the 4 hour playtime I don’t think that my son properly learned the controls, how to drag, hang, swing. It is not intuitive. This time around they hardly bothered with a tutorial either. They just expect you to get it.
Some of the levels were not at all suitable for cooperative play. I’m thinking about the fast moving parts where you slide, jump and slide in consecutive parts. It becomes impossible to stay together and you fail because you run out of yarn between the characters. You still have the option to merge together as one and let one of the players do that part, but it feels stupid in a game that is coop first. We also had some troubles with the camera, as we couldn’t see traps going forward when the camera tried to fit both yarnies in the same screen. This caused numerous of unnecessary deaths.
The puzzles are quite repetitive. Once you finished the first chapter you have seen most of the puzzles that Unravel 2 has to offer. The next 6 chapters are repetition in different settings. It is ok, because the game is not too long, but I would appreciate if the game could introduce some new mechanic now and then. (and I don’t mean double jump, which was a really weird turn)
What really makes me cry in my pillow, is that Coldwood has this excellent artists that makes beautiful graphics and scenery, make it blend with the music in an incredible way, but they do not bother with telling a story. The first game lacked in story, but this game is catastrophic. The first time I saw a zombie in the game I died a little on the inside. What a great experience it could have been if they employed a writer. Instead they put some kids in the background and make the story a bystander of the platforming.
Make a great story, put it at the front, and this could easily have been game of the year material.