Unravel is not the newest game on the grid, and it’s not the biggest. But I think it’s good and it would be great if more people were to play it – and no, I am not paid to write this. It’s just my own, personal and unfiltered opinion 😉
I first stumbled across the game during last year’s E3 presentation. The presenter seemed utterly nervous, as he stood on the stage with the little puppet. But this, his heart-warming speech and the footage shown really made me want to try out the game. So, as soon as it was available we downloaded it through our PS4.
In Unravel you play Yarny, a small puppet made from yarn. And as you advance through the levels, Yarny quite literally unravels; but you will occasionally find more yarn, so that you can continue your journey.
The game stars with an old woman picking up yarn. When she later walks upstairs, a ball of yarn falls out and Yarny is ‘born’. The player can then advance to various picture frames in the house – each representing a level. In these levels Yarny sees the old woman’s memories and we are shown important parts of her life – a holiday, the family, but also sad moments like her husband’s death.
The imagery is what I loved so much about the game. It’s just stunning how everything looks, how the grass moves and how closely you can interact with your surroundings. And that you have to do a lot as you have to solve small riddles to advance every now and then.
During the levels Yarny can catch glowing particles which seem to be memories of a person. With these memories collected, Yarny can look at a book which will slowly fill itself again with pictures of the person’s past. The red thread connects every level with another as you advance more and more, discovering more about the past and at the end of every level you collect a yarn badge and place it in the book.
The environment is based on northern Sweden, and inspired by happy and sunny memories. At least the first levels are!
It’s a game about ‘mending bonds’, with beautiful images and lovely music. It’s not action packed and not full of diverse characters. But it’s a lovely and sweet game, where you have to solve riddles to advance to collect the memories and see the old woman’s life anew. I often found myself marvelling at the graphics and simply enjoying the visuals. Usually I am more about the story than the visuals, but the story of this game is really easy and understandable – just clear the levels basically. Then advance and do the same.
I first played this game and then tried Journey, which a lot of my friends dearly love. But I have found Unravel to be much more my thing than Journey. These two games are in fact kind of similar – there is not talk, you have great landscapes, cool ambient music and have to solve riddles to move on. But where I knew exactly what I had to do and could marvel at the landscape in Unravel, I stopped playing Journey after a while as the landscape seemed so empty and I was utterly clueless what to do apart from reaching this strange tower. I have to admit I played Journey for about two hours before I stopped and I can clearly see why some people love the game so much. But for me Unravel is clearly the better game to play.
In May this year, EA said that the development team is working on a sequel which will be set in the Unravel world. We’ll see what they will come up with!