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At its most basic, Unravel is a puzzle platforming game. However you will learn there is a lot more to it when you play. Even though the game is around six hours long I felt very emotionally invested in what was happening and felt compelled to keep playing. I really felt like I was going on an adventure while playing and enjoyed myself every step of the way.
Let’s just say it right off the bat; Yarny is freaking adorable. I mean look at the guy. It’s pretty incredible how much emotion and involvement I felt with Yarny while playing Unravel as the character has no set up and doesn’t speak or have any distinct personality. This speak volumes about not only the character design but the animations for Yarny are amazing. When you fall, he slowly gets up and brushes himself off you feel compelled to not make the same mistake again for fear of hurting Yarny. The game is filled with moments like this and I’m still surprised with how much I cared about Yarny having now finished the game.
The environments in this game are absolutely stunning. It ranges from woods, forest, farms, mountains, lakes; so many different areas to guide Yarny through. Each area is filled with beautiful art that you will only see once. At times I found myself walking very slowly just so I could take it all in. I really can not understate how good this game looks.
Let’s talk about the actual mechanics as this is a platformer after all. Yarny does feel slightly floaty and before you break down thinking this is a terrible thing to say about a platformer (it usually is); Unravel uses this to brilliant effect. First of all, Unravel is not a precision platformer like Super Mario that requires you making precise jumps. In Unravel you will mainly be lassoing edges with your yarn and pulling yourself up or creating bridges to walk along. It’s extremely rare that the game requires you to make a tricky jump as you always have the yarn to save you if needs be.
This is where the floaty mechanics work in it’s favor. You are playing as a lump of yarn after all so things should be floaty as you traverse outside environments and get blown around by the wind. Also when lassoing certain edges or items the floatiness again helps in achieving this and ultimately makes it a tighter playing game than if Yarny controls like a Mario. It’s a design choice that I commend the team for as usually it would be suicidal choice but for this world and character; I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Accompanying this stunning game is an equally impressive soundtrack they really ties the whole thing together. Knowing when to ramp up the emotion and knowing when to just create an atmosphere perfectly; the orchestra creates a soothing background to the experience. At times when I was taking a break from the game I wouldn’t pause just so I could listen to the soundtrack. It’s one of my favorites in modern gaming.
The soothing soundtrack, fantastic art and cute character creates an overall very soothing experience. These types of games can sometimes lead to frustration at times but Unravel created the opposite for me. I found myself very relaxed and happy when tackling the games many hazards and puzzles and was glad the difficulty was never raised to a level which would took the charm away from it all. Some may find it too easy but that’s not the point of Unravel and there’s always games like Super Meat Boy if that is what you want to play.
The game loosely tells a story and does a nice job of tying the levels together through photographs found in the house that acts like a hub world. It perhaps could have maybe done more, but I also like how I was left to enjoy my time with Yarny and not be interrupted by something I’m not interested in.
For me, ultimately Unravel tells a story of love and that love is most strongly portrayed from the people creating the game. It seeps through every pore of Unravel how much everyone who worked on the project was enjoying themselves. The way everything ties together so nicely from the music, to the visuals and of course the gameplay. Unravel is a stunningly well put together game and I feel happier having played it. During the credits, the studio thank the player for playing their game. Thank you Coldwood Interactive for a fantastic game.