Finding multiplayer games in 2021 is easy. Simply start by running a vote within your friend circle and all of you will end up either on Valorant, Fortnite or Call of Duty. Among Us and PUBG Mobile can scurry up the said list too. Although like the games I mentioned, coordination and teamwork don’t really matter much. You can just about get through any co-op game with a random buddy than you would with games that come from Hazelight Studios. And that’s what makes It Takes Two special. For the most part, as the name suggests, the game literally takes two. You cannot play it solo.
And even if the scope of couch or split-screen co-op doesn’t make it to the conversations at board meetings in game studios, Hazelight Studios has delivered another fun, eccentric and easy to play co-op game that easily rises up our ranks of Top 10 games to play this year!
Grab your favourite loved one and pass on the controller because It Takes Two will require two noggins to complete. As was with A Way Out, one copy of the game can grant access to a friend to download the game and join up from their account.
The story isn’t the driving factor of It Takes Two. As much as we’d like to appreciate the marriage counselling given to us by a ‘talking love book’, the narrative of parents splitting up and magically reconciling their relationship through a series of obstacle courses really dilutes a complex and emotional real-life issue. The story begins when Rose overhears her parents discuss their divorce and starts weeping. Her sobs bring her handcrafted dolls of her parents to life while their real body goes into a state of sleep. Think of it as a playable version of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids movie mashed into a Mario game.
My apologies though. Calling It Takes Two’s levels a series of the obstacle course is underselling how truly fantastic and fun the gameplay actually is. Although we think online co-op shouldn’t be in split-screen, and those were our initial thoughts while playing the game, it quickly became apparent that you really need to see both sides of the coin. As the story progresses the game really starts to challenge you in a multitude of ways. Pushing you into fascinating worlds that range from a war-struck backyard to mole-infested gardens to really trippy and time-bending adventures within a clock and dazzling rock concerts in the attic. It’s truly in these imaginative settings that the game absolutely shines.
Pushing your character into doll-sized bodies and rummaging around the house trying to get back into your actual bodies through collaboration and teamwork is a straightforward way to drive a story. Especially one that is based on divorce and couples therapy. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say Hazelight Studios made it a fun and engaging co-op game. It’s the simpler take on life and love that keeps this game lighthearted. The puzzles, boss battles and quick-time events require serious coordination from time to time. I passed on the second controller to my loved ones who do not play video games and even though much of the gameplay is basic puzzle-solving and platforming, you will end up sending more time on stages that could be cleared easily with a ‘gamer’ friend. Although, it does make for a really nice introduction to video games for your loved ones. Just have patience.
It’s not punishing and very easy to pick up and play, with instant respawn which lets you experiment and play around in the game world and basic yet tight movement controls like double jump and dash for manoeuvring around the intricately designed levels. Each level also grants Cody and May new abilities which bring fresh ideas and new gameplay style to the game.
Abilities also tie into the gameplay for clearing obstacles and defeating bosses. These abilities and the game world also reflect Cody and May’s relationship. In the clock tower level, Cody gains the ability to rewind time while May can clone herself to teleport back. It was all about how the couple doesn’t spend time with each other. On another level, both characters get each side of a magnet which helps them reclaim their lost attraction so to speak but also helps them push and pull objects or themselves around the level.
PC storage used for review: WD Black SN750 NVMe M.2 Internal SSD
There are also a bunch of mini-games scattered throughout the game so it really pushes you to explore and take your time. Each level is crafted with so much detail that you’d assume it’s a Nintendo game. Speaking of which, the only platform this game is not available on is a Nintendo Switch. This is a shame because it has all the makings of a fantastic Switch game. I doubt it’ll look as pretty as it does on a PC. The smaller details within levels and the fresh new gameplay mechanics that come your way will always surprise you. It’s beautiful, trippy and adventurous. We love this game.
It Takes Two is a light-hearted game that ditches the mediocrity of violence and dark stories that drive many top games. It brings back the joy of co-op adventures on the couch. And if you want it, it can be a couples therapy game too, but we didn’t take the story to the heart. It’s in the co-op gameplay and fresh new ideas that this game brings every few hours that really made us see it all the way through the end.