There are not so many games that must be played together. It’s a pity. Interaction with another player always revives the passage, especially if the co-op is asymmetric, when each has its own specialization or unique conditions. In 2017, Youssef Fares came up with a bold initiative: his A Way Out required two people on a split screen and allowed two people to use one copy of the game. Although the release was a success, other developers did not pick up on the theme, and Fares had to develop the concept on his own in his next game, the puzzle platformer It Takes Two .
It’s fun to walk together
I have already told almost all the most important things about It Takes Two in the preview , written after meeting the two chapters of the game, but, in short, the plot is as follows: the spouses Cody and May are going to get divorced, but their daughter casually bewitches them. Now they have turned into living dolls, and a magic book named Dr. Hakim will not return them to their usual appearance until they mend their relationship.
While the heroes are stubborn, Hakim sends the couple on a long journey through their home and surroundings. Quite ordinary locations not only look fresh due to the tiny size of the characters, but also expand noticeably. A closet with an old vacuum cleaner turns into a huge labyrinth of hoses, a children’s toy railroad goes through cities and castles, and a snow globe unfolds into an entire Alpine province. It Takes Two skillfully transforms everyday objects into scenery and obstacles, or just cute trinkets to interact with.
Characters at each stage get new skills, and each one has its own. In the closet, Cody throws nails on which Mae, armed with a hammer, sways. In the garden she has a watering can, and he has the ability to turn into flowers. In space, Mei walks the walls while Cody can shrink or shrink. Every hour and a half, It Takes Two offers fresh mechanics.
Most likely, this is due to the concern of Yusef Fares: he is unhappy that today people have stopped playing the games to the end. And this time the author made a bet on exactly what is needed. In almost any other game, already at a quarter, at a maximum of a third of the timing, the mechanics reveal themselves to a sufficient extent, and, tired of the gameplay, it is quite possible to abandon the passage. In It Takes Two, such a thought does not arise at all – even within each one and a half to two hour chapter, it offers a huge variety of situations. Some, of course, are repeated, but the game still manages to constantly amaze. She beckons to look at what’s next, what’s more unusual this time. This applies to both compulsory segments and optional competitive mini-games, and just interactive items and secrets.
How could you expect a real isometric action RPG here?
However, with the exception of the “attraction” inserts, this is still a puzzle platformer: as a rule, here you need to either jump to the desired point, or defeat enemies, or use each other’s skills in order to reach the exit together. The game is linear (although the locations are often quite spacious), the solution for each puzzle is the same and, as a rule, it is extremely easy to read. The complexity of platforming and action is also quite low, there are a lot of checkpoints, and the supply of lives is endless. It Takes Two tries not to challenge the players, but to entertain them, to give them a reason to be with each other. In this regard, it is much simpler and more accessible than most of the projects that we recommended for joint passage behind one screen.
In view of the general simplicity of the tasks, it is strange that Fares fundamentally abandoned the virtual pointer: the ability to point his partner to the desired point, which was implemented in the same Portal 2. Of course, it is better to talk over everything out loud, but the game would not become worse from unnecessary convenience, and the solution of most puzzles would pass faster.
May, walking on the walls, pulls out the drawers one by one so Cody can climb onto the cabinet.
Frying pan over the head
But nothing good can be said about the scenario component. And it’s not that there wasn’t enough of her here: the heroes grunt, yell and chatter incessantly, but it’s not very pleasant to listen to them. Until the last couple of levels, Cody and May grumble and bicker, and closer to the end they begin to praise and cheer each other up – that’s all their relationship. Reactions to what is happening around, as a rule, boil down to “oh, how cool” or “oh no, we will die.” Although, in general, they cannot die.
The responses of the heroes cannot be called unnatural, but at the same time they are absolutely uninteresting. For a game that presents itself as a romantic comedy, romance is too superficial and humor is too lazy. It Takes Two rarely tries to joke exactly what, and what is happening can only amuse a child. But here’s the bad luck: the age rating here is “12 and older”, and the game is not suitable for children. After all, history is entirely devoted to tired adults who have forgotten about the aspirations of youth and past passion. And sometimes they do such unpleasant things that you want to put the gamepad aside. In one scene, the actions of the heroes are more disgusting than the events of Spec Ops: The Line .
It’s not that Youssef Fares didn’t realize how antipathetic Cody and May looked. He warned that many would not like the characters’ behavior, but insisted that it was part of their story arcs. I find this explanation unconvincing. Firstly, everyone needs to know when to stop, and aversion to the actions of their hero is not the feeling that will help the user to complete the game. And secondly, it doesn’t really work for the story. It is generally built very strangely: there seems to be no climax at all, the gameplay remains without a loud final chord, and after the next everyday segment, cutscenes begin, smoothly flowing into the credits. It’s surprising that a person with solid experience in cinema (and the author of the excellent A Way Out) did not notice how insipid the production turned out to be, compared to the gameplay.
However, a weak scenario is unlikely to be a critical drawback for someone in the case of a co-op puzzle platformer. The game coped with its main task one hundred percent: both visually and gameplay, it is much more diverse than one might expect. And in terms of duration – just right. In short, if you have someone to spend time with, we recommend.
- colossal variety of tests and mechanics;
- the whole game is tied to the interaction of two players;
- tasks are simple and easy to read;
- Lots of competitive mini-games and cute details;
- to play on the network, you need only one copy for two.
- boring and unpleasant heroes;
- this is an unfunny comedy.
How we played
In what : the key is provided by the publisher
What : PS4.
How much : 13 hours.
Achievement of the editorial office
” E2-E4 ”
Play the first game of chess in years with It Takes Two.
All the text is passably translated into Russian.
It Takes Two is constantly stirring up interest with more and more new gameplay mechanics and situations. There is literally no time to miss her – and this is a serious achievement. But how to make a comedy in video games, Yusef Fares would do well to peep at Portal 2.