Unravel, is a single-player side-view physics-based puzzle platform indie game developed by ColdWood Interactive that is about taking lost broken bonds and mending them back together as well as creating new ones along the way. It’s no different from most side view indie titles, but unlike most, it is told from a piece of yarns perspective who is no bigger than 5 inches tall. Despite the size of the character, his purpose of the game has a much larger meaning to life, and it’s shows through the game as you play. It’s an interesting game that both melts your heart, and challenges your puzzle solving skills all at the same without overlapping one or the other. It’s a short story with no words, but the sweet sound of Swedish folk music (created by Swedish composers Henrik Oja and Frida Johansson) playing in the background establishes the mood in the atmosphere bringing a level excitement, love, and sorrow to game that inspires you to think which makes everything all but more satisfying.
Through every moment of our lives we are constantly on a journey seeking new heights and discovering something unimaginable. We try to capture every monumental moment because we want those moments to last a lifetime, but as we continue through this endless adventure we know as life, those once cherished memories soon begin to fade.
We constantly encounter obstacles in our lives that makes things seem difficult, some more than others and we learn to find solutions because we don’t allow anything from holding us back. Everyday is something entirely new whether it’s meeting someone new in our lives, getting the job you fought tooth and nail for, seeing the world, or losing someone you hold dear to your heart. And as we make new memories our old ones eventually slip away from us and we suddenly lose track of how we even got this point that we’re in now.
Meet Yarny, the bond that ties everything together, a fictional creature who is made of yarn and unravels as he goes. Yarny’s sole purpose is to re-unite a family’s lost loved one by traveling the world through old pictures that are framed though out the house which is the main setting of the game takes place.
As you and Yarny take on your adorable adventure you encounter many forms of obstacles and enemies along the way, such as: gerbils, crabs, even birds, it makes your journey much more challenging, and surprisingly interesting. Much like how we face challenges in our lives, Yarny – and you the player – tackle on tough challenges where your quick thinking, and puzzle solving skills comes into play; like tying two ends together to form a yarn bridge to move objects from one floor level to another, or perhaps using that bridge as a trampoline to bounce your way to high grounds. You could even use your yarn lasso to climb, pull, swing in-n-out of trouble or simply just go from one area to another, there’s so many useful ways that Yarny can use his wool to handle tough situations. The catch however, Yarny’s length of wool has an end point.
As Yarny unwinds with every step, his ability to continue decreases till you’re left with nothing more just a few small pieces of yarn who is at a little tug-o-war with himself trying to drag further. Which is a clear sign that you’ve reached your limit of wool. Fortunately, as you play through each chapter setting you occasionally run into yarn ball checkpoints which extends Yanry’s mobility that then allows him to continue his quest and or find a way out of a sticky situation.
As Yarny travels through different environments, where the pictures on the frames were taken, each scene has a lost forgotten memory that he takes in to later restore back into an empty scrapbook that lies on the dinning room table where Yarny goes back to after passing through each place. In addition to gather forgotten memories, there are 1 of 9 lost pieces to the scrapbook that you find towards the every end of each chapter. Each piece represents the theme of what setting you go to, and after retrieving all the necessary objects to require you to complete each scene, inside the book lies all the missing memories that you’ve found as well as a thoughtful note attached to them.
As you continue retrieving more pages, you begin to understand what has happened to the family’s loved one, and as you come closer towards the end you could begin to feel the family’s pain which you can also notice in Yarny’s facial expressions.
It’s a heart warming experience for whomever is playing, because it delivers such a strong message to the player, and it captures adorable, loving, and heart touching moments that could make you reflect back to your life, and possibly put a smile on your face and or put a tear in your eyes all at the same time.
All and all, love forms bonds, like strands of yarn. like yarn, those bonds can be fragile, or get all tangled up. But when they’re kept and cared for, they can bridge any distance. Unravel is a very well done piece of art that really lives up to the expectation. Although the story has only 12 missions in total which feels rather short then one might have hoped, and death from falls and drowning can be frustrating from time to time. Inconsistent logic means some puzzles appear to be almost random as the game often cheats about the length of your yarn, it’s ability to warm hearts, and tell a story through yarn is still quite captivating and somewhat makes up for it.
The graphics are surprisingly vivid filled with bright crystal clear colors, and runs smoothly without issues or glitches. Unravel is beautiful platform that really touches the heart of fans. For a small independent development company – of merely 14 people – in Umeå, Sweden, ColdWood did a fine job. If they can touch our hearts with Unravel, I most certainly can’t wait to see what else they have in stored for us in the future.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Gameplay - /10
Graphics - /10
Sound - /10
Replay Value - /10
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