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

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.

4 out of 5

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

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