Will Yarny string you along enough to unravel its wonder?
My fondest memories growing up came from platforming legends such as Sonic the Hedgehog and that tubby little builder, Super Mario. Unravel looks to join that memorable cast of platforming giants with Yarny, a charming little character made out of wool, but does Yarny have what it takes to string me along?
There is no doubt about it, you’ll instantly fall in love with Yarny right from the outset – there is enough charm in his little yarn-like body to make a bracelet (I’ll try and stop with the puns). Controlling Yarny, you are set with the task of putting together a series of memories back together, through a series of photos you dive in to. It’s a quite simple and approachable story, but one that isn’t as shallow as first looks. The story is paced really well and did surprise me in terms of its emotional attachment.
Attachment, this is key to Unravel and the gameplay mechanics that it offers right from the very beginning. Yarny can throw out his yarn in order to attach to things such as trees, levers and tyres (yes, there is a level where a tyre is crucial to your success), however, his supply of yarn is limited, and failing to solve the puzzle of traversal in the correct manner will result in Yarny running out of what he needs to progress. You need to think very carefully about where you use your Yarn, failing to do so requires some backtracking to undo the tangle you’ve got yourself in, or restarting when you fall to your (temporary) doom.
As you go through each level, you are met with a main puzzle which will require you to use your Yarn in a variety of different ways; creating bridges to pull objects across or using your Yarn to help open a door. You’ll get to the puzzle and will instantly think ‘Oh, this is bloody hard’, but in reality, it isn’t; though the puzzles are set up in different ways, the solution is often the same for each. After the first few levels, everything should click and you’ll find that the puzzles are a breeze to get through.
There is no doubt about it, you’ll instantly fall in love with Yarny right from the outset.
That simplicity and repetition of the puzzle solutions, is for me where Unravel falls down. I would have liked for each level to differentiate itself from each other by more than just look – it just felt too much of the same going through the latter parts of then game. Unravel does look absolutely fantastic though. Each level is designed to perfection, and I loved how during the latter levels the game’s overall tone turns from light and charming to dark and chilling. If looking at Yarny half covered in snow doesn’t make you say ‘Awwwww’ either out loud or in your head, I don’t think that Unravel is for you.
If you can get past the repetitiveness, Unravel is charming at its core. With a lovable main character and quite a lovely main story, Unravel really is a joy to play. Unravel should take you around 7 hours to complete, but I am still finding it fun as I try to platinum it (the no death trophy is a complete bitch, mind!). Coldwood should be very proud of what they have accomplished with Unravel, and I hope that they come back with an Unravel 2, with more challenging puzzles which would add to the variety. Priced at only £15, Unravel is a platformer that I definitely recommend.
Unravel is charming at its core. With a lovable main character and quite a lovely main story, Unravel really is a joy to play, if repetitive in the long run.