When so many games released by AAA studios seem focused on sex and violence (which I enjoy, by the way, so don’t take this comment as some sort of judgment call), it’s refreshing to play a game that’s clearly not. Developed and created by Swedish Coldwood Interactive and published by EA games, Unravel is a physics-based puzzle platformer for the PC, PS4, and XBOX 360. As I lack any of the next gen consoles, I got it for the PC and I regret nothing.
A Quick Review
I’m only on the third level of this game. The protagonist, Yarny, is this adorable little creature made out of red yarn. The player’s goal is to help Yarny navigate through all of these scenarios in order to help this woman reconnect with her memories and those she loves. It’s a simple, heartfelt premise that the developers clearly poured their hearts and souls into.
Unravel is the most soothingly frustrating game or you could call it a frustratingly soothing game. The graphics are rich and Yarny is just so darn cute. The music is perfect: lovely and atmospheric. You could seriously spend some quality time just sitting there and staring at the screen as the music lulls you into some sort of content, trance-like state. Then, you start to play.
The first level is a great tutorial level, giving you the basics of what Yarny is capable of doing. The second level? That’s when the difficulty kicks up a few notches and you’re left trying to figure out what, exactly, you’re supposed to do next. How are you supposed to navigate the rolling waves of the sea without repeatedly drowning poor Yarny?
The answer to that is simple: You just keep drowning Yarny until you figure out what you’re supposed to do. Then, you start feeling guilty about all of the times you drown Yarny and it’s this vicious cycle. The problem with a protagonist who is just that darn cute is feeling guilty every time something bad happens to them.
Yeah, I made it through The Sea (the second level). It wasn’t easy, but I felt accomplished when I finally did it. The reward for making it through that level is a cut scene that is almost too cute. I may have gotten a little misty-eyed. It also may have been really late and that can make me a little emotional.
I love Unravel. I love Yarny. I love that it’s a puzzle game that really makes me think and try to figure out the best way to go about things. I got it for $19.99 for my laptop and it’s been worth every penny. When the soundtrack comes out (hopefully soon), I’m totally going to buy it. So far, it’s a beautiful game that I’m looking forward to being challenged by with each passing level.