mon 17/06/2024

Unravel | reviews, news & interviews



Small thread, big heart

Unravel: Love is the tie that binds

The ties that bind, the mystery of the human condition and the emotional connections that keep us trussed to our nearest and dearest. Visualise love and what do you see? In the eyes of the Unravel development team it’s a little red thread, the same thread that lies at the heart of this endearing puzzle platform game.

Yarny is the pint-sized, wool-based protagonist, an impish figure derived entirely from a single thread of the soft stuff. He’s big on mending broken bonds and repairing the love that can fray over time, and not so hot on multi-hit combos and finishing moves. But when your world is littered with environmental obstacles and devoid of mouth-breathing bad guys, who needs a fatality when a bit of strategically positioned thread will lift the lever, create a net or traverse a broken bridge?

What starts as a genteel observation of Swedish countryside turns somewhat darker as Yarny stumbles upon fragmented memories and mementos that, when collected, restore an ageing photo album. And so begins a reasonably short, but deceptively difficult side-scrolling platform adventure that relies as much on trial and error as it does on skill and lateral thinking.

Unravel starts to come undone when, after an initial flourish of creativity, it gets tangled up in repetitive and frustrating puzzles. Death can come quickly from a multitude of angles, the controls can be fiddly and there are only so many objects to move and paths to unblock before the gameplay stumbles into the realm of rinse and repeat.

Unravel is a game that wants you to love it – and it’s initially an easy agreement to make, given the cute presentation, lack of dialogue and atmospheric folk soundtrack meandering in the background. But be warned: with love comes pain, and beauty is only skin-deep. The game hints at more but never fully delivers on early promises, and while Yarny is certainly a charismatic character, he needs more happening in his world to keep us fully wrapped up in his unraveling life.

Read more gaming reviews on theartsdesk

Unravel starts to come undone when, after an initial flourish of creativity, it gets tangled up in repetitive and frustrating puzzles


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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