Why you have to play It Takes Two
Hazelight Studios new co-op game is a awesome. Choose a partner, play it now and level up your relationship!
Josef Fares, the director of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons and A Way Out, together with Hazelight Studios, has created a new co-op game. You guessed it! It Takes Two. Even though both Brothers and A Way Out excels in their own right - Brothers is an incredibly well written and touching game, and A Way out really shows how great a co-op can work in practicality - It Takes Two is something different. In a gaming world where co-op isn't prioritized anywhere near singleplayer games, or multiplayers like League of Legends or Counter-Strike, it's very refreshing, and undoubtedly welcomed. There will be some spoilers ahead, so if you want to have a totally blank page when playing the game - stop read here.
A New Kind of Cooperation
Right from the bat, you'll notice that It Takes Two is incredibly ambitious. The gameplay, graphics, music, puzzles and co-op mechanics, Hazelight Studios has clearly made this game to impress. Except from the sharp and beautiful environments, another thing you'll notice straight away, is the dependency on your partner. Many existing co-op games put the cooperation level on low - where you can run through a section almost separately, only to make you push a button at the end, to progress, and then call it cooperation. Not It Takes Two. Cooperation is constant. Cooperation is vital. Cooperation is key. You won't go far without having to constantly communicate with your partner. Solving puzzles together. Making each other progress in order to reach the next plateau, bridge, window, tree branch, or whatever. You simply can't live without your partner.
The story is revolving around a failing marriage. Two adults who aren't on the same page as a couple, and also, have let adulthood put a lid on their passions and dreams. In the centre is a child, worrying about her parents and their happiness. Through magic, the parents (Cody and May) gets turned into living toys - it looks like a mix between Toy Story and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids - and their mission to be turned back into themselves through cooperation and understanding - begins.
One of the Most Creative Games Ever
During the adventure, you and your partner will experience vastly different environments - nearly all of them are incredible. They all have their own theme, own mechanics and gameplay. And it is here that It Takes Two's biggest strength lies. It is one of the most creative games we've ever played. Period. From the puzzles to the scenery. The anthropomorphic characters and the arsenal of weapons, or items, you get to be able to keep moving forward. Hazelight Studios have really thought outside the box on this one, and had (it seems like) the mottos "more is more", "bigger is better" and "why the hell not?!" as guidelines. To summarize: It Takes Two is all over the place - and we love it.
Not everything is original though. Hazelight Studios have also shamelessly incorporated several other games and themes into their game. You fight a squirrel in a Street Fighter format, race on a very similar course to Mario Kart's Rainbow Road (even the characters in the game says that they're recognizing it), platform elements from Sonic, Super Mario Sunshine, Crash Bandicoot and Ratchet and Clank, boss fights from the Zelda franchise - even Guitar Hero plays a role! And you know what? It works. It really works. A mashup of the best parts of many games can be a hit or miss. Hazelight Studios' incorporated it with finesse and a noticeable love of gaming. It feels like meeting an old friend (well, several actually), chatting about some great adventures you had together in the past.
Why you Need to Play it Now
Do you want to level up your relationships? Develop your communication skills? Explore varied and beautiful sceneries? While also having tons of fun? Perfect - play this game with your partner, family member or friend. It's enjoyable for both children (although maybe a bit hard) and grown adults. It might be a good introduction into the world of gaming for someone close. If you are in a loving relationship, you'll both have incredibly fun and maybe learn a valuable lesson or two about married life. The thing is, you can take whatever you want out from the game. If you want to level up your relationship - go ahead. If you just want to have fun - there you go. You will experience many, many epic moments together.
There are many things about It Takes Two that makes playing it really worth your while. The average story and bland main characters are unfortunately not among them. If the rest of the game wouldn't have been so incredibly good, you wouldn't even have noticed. However, you probably won't play for the chills, you play for the most important thing in a video game: to have fun. And you WILL have a lot of fun playing It Takes Two. It's arguably one of the most fun co-op games ever made. And, at least to this writer, one of the most creative, crazy and retro-loving cooperations released. The puzzles are on a good difficulty level, you have to communicate with your player 2 to solve them and you will probably replay a couple of levels together, just for the fun of it. We're all eagerly waiting for what Hazelight Studios' going to do next - in the meantime we're probably going to fight a giant squirrel on a plane made out of wood and underwear, over and over again.