When it comes to co-op games, Josef Fares and his team at Hazelight are easily masters of the genre so here's their latest adventure.
A few years back, my gaming chum and I had a blast with the cinematic A Way Out and ever since It Takes Two was announced, we couldn't wait to play it and now that we have, I'm happy to say that it has lived up to our expectations. Its story involves a family of 3 where parents May and Cody are on the verge of getting a divorce. Meanwhile, their daughter Rose is feeling the impact of their crumbling relationship as well as their frankly awful parenting skills. So, through a series of magical events, 2 dolls that Rose made of her parents become inhabited by May and Cody and the adventure ahead will have them trying to get back to their regular selves. Meanwhile, a book that Rose bought about relationship advice comes to life as well and it's by far the funniest character in the game as it makes May and Cody's journey even more difficult for little reason other than to test their mettle and in turn, their relationship.
Overall, the adventure within It Takes Two is astoundingly long considering how jam-packed it is with variety; not only in its gameplay but in its environments, too. For the record, it will take about a dozen hours to complete which is quite a long time for a co-op 3D platformer, especially one as dense as this. Specifically, you'll find yourself fighting insects in a tree, flying around on fidget spinners, doing Rose's homework, controlling a giant toy dinosaur, traversing the inside of a snow globe, swinging across branches in a tree, and working your way out of a kaleidoscope which is one of the trippiest levels that I've ever played. As you can see, there is a ton of variety throughout and solving the many clever puzzles while running and jumping through massive environments makes for one amazing co-op journey.
Although It Takes Two is a cooperative game at its core, there are 25 competitive mini-games thrown in to add a sense of rivalry from time to time. It's true that It Takes Two essentially doesn't feature collectibles but I count these mini-games as such because some of them are hidden and collecting them is very satisfying because you can dive into them individually from the menu whenever you want to challenge your chum to a match or 2. My favourite mini-games that I've come across include one where Cody is the mole in a game of Whac-A-Mole and another is like shuffle board mixed with curling. As if the campaign wasn't varied and lengthy enough already!
When it comes to story, It Takes Two has one of the niftiest premises and the characters are excellent, too. You'll really get to know everyone throughout via the silly dialogue and cutscenes. However, I kind of found May and Cody to be a bit irritating at times. For starters, they're not very good parents and they bicker at any given opportunity which occasionally got on my nerves. They also say many jokes and jabs that can sometimes be a bit cringey and obvious. To balance this out, Rose is clearly much more intelligent and in-tune than her parents which is a pretty funny and subtle part of the narrative. Overall, it's lighthearted fun that feels like a kids' movie.
Finally, even though we had a blast with It Takes Two, we were a bit disappointed in its sense of challenge. For context, we recently played Sackboy: A Big Adventure and found it to pose a hearty co-op challenge while It Takes Two mostly holds your hand throughout the campaign. Sure, some of the puzzles are impressively intricate yet most of them will simply have you going through the motions. That being said, nothing feels tedious due to the incredible sense of spectacle and wonder which is maintained due to the fact that you control little dolls in an imaginative larger-than-life world. Another small thing I noticed is that the game basically plays itself at certain points. To test this, I stopped pressing anything on the controller whenever I was suspicious that I wasn't actually doing anything then more than a dozen times, I was surprised to see my character keep running or performing some action despite my lack of input.
It Takes Two is a cooperative gaming experience like no other. Its gameplay sometimes takes a back seat to the overall spectacle of the adventure but even when that happens, it's hard not to enjoy every minute of this incredible journey.
- + Awesome 3D platforming adventure that consists of many amazing scenarios
- + Clever story premise and fun characters
- + Lengthy campaign / cool mini-games
- - The game plays itself at certain points
- - Bickering can be a bit much at times
- - General lack of challenge