Unravel Two Review

Richard Walker

Something of a one-off, Unravel told the story of little Yarny, a knitted red fella able to swing from a thread of yarn. A lovely tale about the ties that bind us, you couldn't help but be wooed by Coldwood Interactive's endearing little platformer, so this somewhat unexpected sequel is more than welcome.

Like its predecessor, Unravel Two is every bit as wholesome and heartwarming, this time bringing in a new blue Yarny as a buddy that follows you from the very start to the bittersweet end. The closest co-op touchstone I can think of for Unravel Two is Mega Drive/Genesis classic Mickey and Donald in The World of Illusion, the entirety of the game built around the co-op experience.


As such, puzzles are slightly more intricate than they were in the first Unravel, as you switch between red Yarny and blue Yarny, using their combined yarn to overcome obstacles, work contraptions or swing one another across platforms. Whether you're playing solo or with a friend, you play as both Yarnys (Yarnies?), able to switch at the touch of a button or hold the same button to knit yourself together into a single multi-coloured character. You can customise your Yarny now too, changing the colour of his wool, as well as the shape of his body, head and eyes.

Again, Unravel Two does gorgeous nigh-on photorealistic environments remarkably well, transporting you to its picturesque Swedish landscapes (Coldwood's native land), where hazy memories play out in the background. From a gentle opening level, the co-op mechanics bring increasingly tricky puzzles as you progress, and each floor of the lighthouse hub you complete unlocks incredibly challenging – and thankfully optional - bonus levels to tackle.

Unlike the seven core narrative-based levels, these bonus challenge levels don't give you any hints, and come in three flavours: hard, harder, and hardest. Hints can be incredibly handy in Unravel Two, as it's more than likely you will get stuck at some point. Coldwood's sequel is certainly more taxing than the first game, yet you'll still find yourself breezing through the majority of Unravel Two's levels.

You can toggle hints off if you don't want them a tempting button press away, and I'd recommend playing without the clues and pointers to spoil the trickier, more difficult puzzles. That is unless you're tearing your hair out, in which case, the hints can be invaluable to alleviate the frustration. The majority of puzzles involve looping your thread over something to then swing over to a high ledge then pull your buddy up, and eventually, you'll find the penny drops in most instances when racking your brain for a solution.

Predictably, Unravel Two is more fun with a friend, as you shout at one another while trying to coordinate co-operative swinging manoeuvres from one platform to another and attempt to communicate what each of you are supposed to do. Co-op is arguably the best part of Unravel Two, making for a more interesting set of puzzles than the first game, although the heart and soul of what makes Yarny's adventure so achingly nice remains intact.

Each completed level brings a spark of life back to the lighthouse hub, restoring paintings on the walls, and unlocking access to additional floors until you reach the top. Even operating the lift to travel up and down the lighthouse is a small co-op problem to solve, and indeed, much of Unravel Two has been shaped around the two-player – or two-character when playing solo – mechanics. It's all the more enjoyable for it too.


There are annoyances, of course, most of which arise from the timing required for certain puzzles that can be especially maddening when you and a friend are trying to put your heads together. Any section that involves evil ember like apparitions that kill you instantly upon contact can be especially irritating, and some of the bonus stages are especially sadistic.

Unravel Two injects a bit of added replay value by introducing medals for completing a level within a target time, and chucks in achievements for muddling through each level without dying. But whether you'll choose to persevere with all of that is entirely subjective. Personally, I'm not really one for speedruns or no death playthroughs, but someone clearly is. You might be.

None of this detracts from Unravel Two's inherent charm, of course, Coldwood's sequel effortlessly conveying drama and emotion throughout, in a manner that can at times be slightly maudlin. But then only a cold-hearted cynic could find Yarny's journey to be too sickly sweet. Its overarching message is a simple yet timeless one, and one that's all the more resonant today. Love is what connects all of us, including Yarny and his woolly mates, and it's what makes Unravel Two such a special, memorable experience.

Unravel Two

Every bit the tactile, heart-rending experience that the first game was, but with added layers of complexity thanks to co-op - as well as enhanced replay value - Unravel Two is a fuzzy, warm hug of a sequel that'll make you smile.

Form widget
80%
Audio
90%

Lovely folksy ditties, mournful violin and other tuneful noodlings that perfectly complement the game's escalating drama and emotion.

Visuals
90%

Yarny (both the red and blue one) remains wonderfully expressive and endearing, while the backdrops are never anything less than jaw-dropping.

Playability
80%

A harder game than the first one, the addition of co-op creating far greater puzzling potential, though Unravel Two is not without its frustrations.

Delivery
80%

Whether you choose to play alone or with a friend, there's masses of replay value, with bonus challenge levels and a hub area. It's all been lovingly polished too.

Achievements
50%

An incredibly hard list, the majority of which is connected to speedrunning every level and completing the game without dying. Collectibles are tricky to find and grab too, making this a list that only the hardcore and dedicated will bother to complete. Or the most masochistic. Horrid.

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