EA Games might be the studio that catches the most shit from the gaming community for it’s yearly sports releases, given that they own the sole rights to the NFL with its Madden series, and put out UFC, NBA, NHL, and FIFA. No attention is paid to whether or not these games are good (most are) or to the fact that we seem to buy them every year (or else they wouldn’t make them every year) but besides all of that, when EA puts out an original title and advertises the hell out they get little credit or fanfare.
This brings me to Unravel. On the surface of the game it seems like a pretty 2-D side scroller, but it’s more than that. Yes it’s pretty, yes it’s a 2-D side scroller, but besides all of that is a delightful puzzled filled game with a lot of heart to it.
First and foremost I have to talk about the presentation of the game. You control this being made entirely of yarn and you look great. With this being a 2-D side scroller developer Coldworld Interactive was able to focus on the world of the game and and the graphics and it is just beautiful. The backgrounds of the game look absolutely photo realistic and it is so easy to get lost in the world and find yourself relying purely on platforming instinct. My descriptions and pictures do not do the visuals of this game justice at all. Also the water graphics on the beach level are probably the best I’ve ever seen in a video game (don’t take my word for check out our play thru on our latest podcast).
A lot of things in your environment and backgrounds are interactive but unlike most game, this one doesn’t mark them with a color or anything, it’s all up to the player to play around with and figure out how to use them to solve the game’s puzzles.
Most of the game play is your typical platformer. You scroll from left to right all while jumping onto platforms and dodging, however Coldworld has introduced some new mechanics to this tried and true style.
Like mentioned above you play as a yarn made character but you’re not just free roaming, one end of your yarn is tied to your home. So throughout the level you must find balls of yarn to add to your body so you can continue.
Also, you don’t just swing and jump your way to the end, you have to lasso and climb your own yarn to get to some platforms as well as solve puzzles. Throughout the levels there are nails and hooks for you to lasso onto. They do have slight a bit of red yarn attached to them so you can notice them but they’re not that obvious in some places.
Also scattered through out the levels are four buttons to find. As of printing I’m not sure what finding all of these buttons do for you since I haven’t found them all yet, but I’m sure they unlock something, maybe hidden memories.
The story in this game is that of this yarn character who travels through pictures (ala Super Mario 64) and as you complete the levels you fill up a photo album with pictures and memories (possibly the collectible buttons unlock more memories).
This game feels more like a work of art in every sense of the word as opposed to “just another EA game”. A game that came to mind is Braid. The game feels more than just a game and it attaches to you emotionally unlike many games out there, especially platformers.
I was hesitant at first to give this game a try but the EA marketing machine (as in ads, EA did not contact me personally) got to me and I was like “eh, what the hell, I’ll give it a try.”
Once it finished downloading I hopped in and was taken away. There were times while I was playing I just stopped and looked around the background of the game so try and take in all that was there. A game hasn’t done that to me since I played Bioshock Infinite for the first time. There is so much going on you want to play thru multiple times so you can see everything, and luckily for you the game is fantastic and much like the Mario games they’re simplistic yet challenging that you can play thru them over and over again and not get bored. For this I am giving Unravel a 9 out of 10.
Unravel is out now for the Xbox One, PS4, and PC for $19.99