Unravel Review
8Overall Score
Replay Value7

As our lives move forward, we are bound to meet countless people. Some of them may just walk alongside us for some time and some may stick for the whole run, we do not know who gets to be what, we find out as our bonds survive. Bonds will be thrown everything at them, so only the strongest ones shall live on. Unravel dwells on the idea of human relationships and the different stages they may undergo over time.UnravelFrom the moment the game starts, players get greeted by a heart-touching message from Coldwood, the team behind Unravel. The mood is immediately set as Yarny appears. Our little hero is made entirely out of yarn, which is the basis of Unravel’s gameplay. We are in charge of making him prevail through his journey, one with peril but also filled with reasons to smile. And this is because Yarny interacts with the world around him with the curiosity of a little boy who is just discovering how it all works. The character is endearing till the point when I found myself moving him as gently as I could through the stages, mindlessly avoiding big falls and other minor hazards.

The story in Unravel unravels (pardon the redundancy) in a way that does not feel forced or rushed in any way possible. As the player consistently makes progress through the game, our little Yarny will venture into photos depicting memories to grab up to 10 pieces of yarn attached to those memories. Said pieces will unlock entries and photos in an album that will slowly fill the background needed for players to understand what the game stands for with barely any explicit wording. That, together with level layouts and some of Yarny’s interactions with the world will create a full circle. Everything in Unravel does the talking, without actually speaking.

When it comes to mechanics, Unravel charges in from step one. The game quickly introduces – one after the next – all of the gameplay features needed for puzzle-solving. The game shows what it’s all about gameplay-wise from the very beginning, having players learn all of the tricks in Yarny’s book. Our tightly knit friend has a limited yet resourceful amount of ways to clear paths. The platforming in Unravel relies heavily on physics. We will find ourselves bouncing, swinging and pushing objects to make progress. While this starts out as interesting and even hard to depict, it quickly becomes predictable once the player has learnt how the game works. For example, seeing two swinging spots close together and at a similar height almost always ends up in building a bouncing platform between both spots to make progress.UnravelGoing side by side with platforming, puzzle-solving is the other key component in Unravel’s gameplay. Since our little friend is made out of yarn, moving around tying knots, building bridges and trampolines slowly makes him run out of his own material, which we can refill at the many checkpoints spread through the game. This concept created one of my favorite case scenarios in Unravel. When puzzles are intricate, the order you choose to do things matters. I found myself running out of yarn to make it to the next checkpoint a few times because I was not solving puzzles in the most efficient way possible, so I was wasting some inches of yarn, and those made the difference between making it and getting stuck. Luckily, pressing down on the d-pad allows players to reset segments, which is useful for testing puzzle solutions out or getting out of a messy situation.

However, situations like the ones I described above won’t happen nearly often enough, as the puzzle solving mechanics slightly fail to disguise their usefulness in most of the puzzles, in which once you know what Yarny is capable of, knowing what to do is fairly obvious. There is a little twinge more of difficulty I would’ve loved to have.

Between puzzle and puzzle, I found myself stopping and looking at how beautiful the environments in the game are. One of Unravel’s strongest aces is how two key components blend almost perfectly the whole time: aesthetics and sound. Yarny will traverse through all sorts of natural landscapes brimming with color and surrounding the player in an atmosphere that suits each stage of the journey. Autumnal fields, snowy woods, coastal areas are all vividly depicted and filled with nuances that make them unique.

The game’s look is always embraced by the absolutely fitting soundtrack. The music in Unravel speaks volumes of what the game is about, and completes the full atmospherical circle in which the player is submerged during each stage of the game. From the soft and mellow notes during Yarny’s chilling walks to the upbeat tones in moments of tension, the music in Unravel is top-notch, and will be a big contributor in bringing chills – or even tears – to players as they make progress.UnravelIn terms of content volume, I spent around 10 hours playing Unravel from start to finish, plus some hours I am still going through in the search for collectibles. As mentioned above, puzzles along the game’s “main path” become slightly readable, but hunting for collectibles extends the playtime and can call for some tricky searching as well. Avid players looking for an even tougher challenge can go for the game’s set of achievements, and try to beat every level without dying or completing certain requirements that will compose a greater and further-lasting challenge (The trophy hunter in me will get there).

Unravel is a game filled with symbolism and, through proper pacing, it presents a beautiful, heartbreaking and bittersweet story that encapsulates concepts and feelings people can relate to. Even if it doesn’t break grounds or the player’s sweat when it comes to its gameplay, it all comes together as a solid title that is definitely worth checking out.