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Unravel Two Xbox One review: A charming sequel and a familiar formula

Unravel Two is a great sequel, and showcases the potential of EA Originals.

When Electronic Arts (EA) began to support indie developers with the EA Originals program, one of the first games from it was Unravel, arguably 2016's best puzzle game. Two years later, developer Coldwood Interactive surprised the gaming community with a sequel, Unravel Two, that became playable following its reveal.

For the most part, Unravel Two perfectly replicates everything that was great about the first game, but also brings back some of what was poor. Even so, it's a great title that any puzzle gamer should have on their radar.

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Gameplay: All strings attached

Like in the first game, Unravel Two has you solve its puzzles by utilizing yarn from the main character, a strange yarny... creature... thing. However, this time around, there's a second one in play, and the majority of the scenarios you come across in-game will force you to utilize both of them to their full potential in order for you to proceed. The second character is controlled by switching over from the first; alternatively, two players can experience Unravel Two via splitscreen, with each person controlling a single character.

Overall, Unravel Two is fairly difficult, with many of the latter levels in the story mode offering surprising challenge. However, like the original Unravel, the story itself is incredibly short, only lasting 4 hours. Admittedly, the game does include a collection of challenge missions for people who complete it, but I still would have liked a lengthier time-to-beat.

Unravel Two's best gameplay trait is the masterclass levels. Not only is the difficulty of each one finely-tuned, but they all truly feel distinct as well. Each and every puzzle is different in many ways than the last, keeping the player on their toes and always encouraging them to think of new ways to utilize yarn power. This leads to experimentation with the sandbox mechanics, and discovering all the possible creative strategies is a treat.

Presentation and performance: Amazing, except one thing

Bizarre lack of online co-op. Disappointing length.

Bizarre lack of online co-op. Disappointing length. (Image credit: EA)

Unravel Two faithfully brings the hybrid realistic-stylized art direction Unravel is known for to life, and between the gorgeous lighting, stunning texture work, and vibrant color palette, this game is pure eye candy. Though slightly less impressive then what was in the first game, Unravel Two brings a phenomenal musical score to the table as well. Playing through all of this in-game is an artistic assault on the senses, and you'll love every bit.

The title also runs excellently, which is great to see in an era where many games release in broken, unplayable states. No matter which Xbox One console you own, Unravel Two will remain locked at a stable 60 frames per second (FPS) throughout the entire experience. Unfortunately, there is one rather big problem with the game, though: the lack of any online co-op.

Splitscreen is great, but people who don't have anyone to play with locally will be unable to enjoy the co-op focus that the developers clearly wanted in this game. Hopefully it gets patched in at a later date.

Unravel Two Xbox One conclusion

While rough around the edges in some ways, Unravel Two is ultimately a fantastic game that puzzle or platformer gamers will enjoy without a doubt.

Pros:

  • Strong gameplay.
  • Amazing level depth.
  • Excellent presentation.

Cons:

  • Bizarre lack of online co-op.
  • Disappointing length.

You can get Unravel Two now on Xbox One for $19.99.

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Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.

9 Comments
  • Why do people always consider lack of online coop as a flaw? Local coop is an experience on its own, and most of the time it's a very different thing to play with someone random and/or far away. Other than that, this game and the coop mechanic reminds me a lot of that game called Chariot.
  • It is very different to play a game with a person next to you, more so when it is a cooperative type title.
  • This game has everything I loved about the original with some great new mechanics. I'm really enjoying it so far. I don't care about online Co op so that isn't a negative for me, I kick prefer local, especially in a game like this which does require a lot of dialogue.
  • I would also play it alone.
  • * Disappointing length. ;-)
  • Online co-op would be nice, but it's honestly not something I see any of my friends wanting to play. My daughter on the other hand loved the first one and will really enjoy being able to play this one with me rather than by herself or watching me play.
  • Playing with my gf next to me... real fun!
  • One of my favorite indie game.
    Can't wait to play this.
  • I just picked up Unravel Two. The controls are also so much better than the original. Though, now I am playing on an Xbox One X with an Xbox Elite Controller.