It Takes Two is the latest co-op game for EA Originals in which players inhabit two people who have been turned into dolls. When you work together, your goal is to resuscitate their broken relationship from the threshold of divorce – but you will have to face a whole host of trials and difficulties in order to achieve this.
The developer, Hazelight Studios, was founded in 2014 by Josef Fares on the basis of the successful title Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. After the powerhouse, which was the studio’s first release, A Way Out, which won a BAFTA for the multiplayer category in 2019, Josef and his team are breaking mold and it’s “a whole different level” with theirs last excursion.
Having got early access to It Takes Two, we now know a lot more about the world and dive deeper than what was already seen in the trailers.
This refreshing project is a far cry from the prison cell blocks of their last game and no doubt full of inspiration from the great studios of film and gaming. Fares themselves even admits that they tried storytelling and making characters, much like Pixar’s.
The self-described romantic comedy is also “a love letter to Nintendo” in which gamers can find Easter eggs referring to their favorite games. However, aside from those niche details, it’s fair to say this is a wild ride.
Exploring the It Takes Two universe
Following in the footsteps of May and Cody, player and character must work together as a team to find their daughter Rose after she was told by Dr. Hakim wrote the book of love wishing to solve her family’s problems. Starting in their garden shed, players are slowly introduced to controls that are intuitively introduced through the gameplay – without feeling compelled or rushed.
Players must work together to find solutions to some extremely difficult tasks. This can be anything from building up huge walls to repelling an air strike by a squirrel battalion. It’s by no means easy, but the challenge makes the game very exciting.
- Continue reading: 6 things we learned from it takes two
Its presence in this incredibly detailed, carefully crafted landscape is a joy to experience. Fares and his team have clearly moved away from games that focus on collectibles to create a highly polished, interactive space with little off-loop moments designed to refine the world we live in.
The mechanics and kinematics of the game really align with the overall “love conquers all” message in It Takes Two. For example, the game uses its mechanics in kinematics as well. It’s not just a function by hand with no explanation. Similarly, in boss encounters, the push of a button resuscitation mechanism shows that a love heart is slowly filling up before it brings you back into the game.
If challenges are your thing, all of these basics are covered. The game’s boss fights are incredibly fun and can even result in you tossing a controller or two if both of you inevitably get wiped out. Ever wanted to fight a vacuum cleaner that wreaks havoc and revenge for mistreating it? Look no further.
Two puzzles are also incredibly challenging. A huge lab with an acorn built by squirrels provides one of the most headache-inducing moments in the preview. It took some time and careful consideration to understand the physics of your work before you could work together to make progress.
Fares describes it as a rom-com, but it always safely shifts between fun and moving, seamlessly delivering a compelling story that leaves you wanting more.
At some point May had to fend off an American-accented squirrel, as you’d expect in Tekken or Street Fighter. All of this takes place on a plane made of underpants to highlight how random things can get. If that and the talking, attacking squirrels are something, we’d say for sure that this is an unpredictable game.
Each character also has their own set of skills for finding their way around. May is an agile character who is more suited to people who are genuinely interested in their shooter games. For example, she can swing her hammer over large gaps and move around really easily. On the other hand, Cody is more of a tank. If you want to do a lot of damage but take the slower path, he’s your type.
While these two styles of play may offer ways to relive the game, It Takes Two’s focus isn’t on replayability. The tariffs said, “It shouldn’t be the most important thing in a game. I’m not a huge fan of collecting in general. I’d rather we create a world that is interesting and interactive rather than just collecting things. “
No collectibles to be seen
Many similar co-op games in the past have taken the path of collecting and encouraging people to keep an eye out for certain things along the way. However, It Takes Two has nothing to collect – and there is a reason for that.
Fares understands that collectibles can be used to keep players off the beaten path, but believes there are other ways to do this: “I know it’s shiny [is] There is a reason to guide the player, but you can guide them from another path as well. You can have a world that is interactive; Try it, test it, play it – have a mini-game there. “
“So you don’t have any collectibles in It Takes Two, which we are very proud of to have a world to explore instead.”
This vision is paying off incredibly well. With challenges for couples that fit into the flow of the couple that determines their relationship, like the tug of war mini-game or the shooting range that is scattered around the world, rather than typical collectibles. They actively feel that their purpose is to strengthen (or challenge) both the player’s character and relationships. With that in mind, nothing in this game feels pinned or out of place.
Errors, mechanical problems and a lack of polish were rare. There were stuttering kinematics from time to time, but it was never entirely clear if this was due to our online connection or problems with our preview build.
Similarly, chunky mechanics disrupted the flow of the game, mostly Cody’s ability to throw nails. It can be difficult to remember specific nails to the player when a number of nails have already failed. This sometimes leads to deaths in May or minor annoyance when a given moment has to be repeated. Pushing a button can sometimes feel counterintuitive, especially May’s ability to swing the nail.
- Continue reading: It takes two release dates, gameplay, trailers
That being said, every mechanic introduced to It Takes Two is fresh and exciting. Nothing feels like or uninspired. Skills and tools come and go just like you do with the game.
It’s a joyful, serotonin-inducing experience that will no doubt leave a smile on your face and get you thinking about your own personal relationships.
Two versions for PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X / S, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 will be released on March 26, 2021.
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