Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Reviewed On : Xbox One
Developer: Coldwood Studios
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: 9 February 2016
As far back as E3 2015, during the EA Game press conference, Coldwood Studios unveiled its vision of a light-hearted platformer that featured Yarny, a character made of yarn. The game has a simple story that revolves around memories and nostalgia. Combine a beautiful looking game with a light story, and add in a soothing soundtrack, and you have a pretty cool experience.
Yarny travels through photographs scattered around a house, each photograph takes him to a new location with new challenges and a unique look and feel. The levels are side-scrolling puzzles in a nutshell, you will start off at one end and have to traverse the landscapes and solve obstacles in your way.
Yarny is difficult to control as the platforming does get tough especially when you need to carefully walk across a log floating in a puddle of water, or jump a large gap before swinging across a vine using your yarn. At the hardest times, the puzzles are not what make the game tough, it is trying to handle Yarny while completing them. Yarny unravels while he walks across the level, and he runs out of yarn at certain spots which require you to find more attached to a nail somewhere. If you run out before you get to this nail, then you have done something wrong and will need to backtrack to the start and see what this error was. Yarny can also tie objects together, push rocks and wood and climb up a string of yarn which he has looped around a branch. As complex as it sounds, you never feel completely stuck, and most of the time the puzzles are not puzzling at all.
The levels are beautiful and its a cool experience to sometimes just sit down and take in the sound of the waves crashing against the pebbles as a soothing soundtrack played in the background. It’s visually spectacular and really envisions the world that you are in.
Although beautiful, death is everywhere as Yarny dies often. A crab will pick you up and smash you against the ground, you will drown as you fall into a puddle of water, and you will die as a rock crushes you against a wall. As often as you might die, you will always learn from your mistakes, but often these mistakes are more an issue in the game due to the game’s weak control over its character, than anything else. Yarny will slip off a rock or miss a jump, which is the game’s biggest downfall.
Unravel is has a fairly short story, and there are a few collectables to go back to find, which will infuriate you even more as they require a lot of patience as you put up with even more platforming issues.
Unravel is a gorgeous looking game with an emotional connection as you look back at the times of the past and remember when things were simple. Although this message is not always conveyed correctly, it is up to you to find some sort of connection with it. Yarny is a cute and memorable character. The game offers great value for money and you can experience a unique platformer that has a rather magical impact on your emotions for R200.