ReviewsReview: It Takes Two

Review: It Takes Two

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Sadly, marriages fall by the wayside. This is a tragedy as the sacred bond should last until “death us do part”. It goes to a whole new level of regret when young family members are involved. The reasons for parting ways vary, and though the separation can be the best thing for the children, they rarely see it that way. This sombre and eye-opening theme forms the backbone of the wonderfully touching game It Takes Two.

Developed by Hazelight and published by EA Originals, this 3D platform puzzle game removes you from the real world. Transported to a surreal “Honey I Shrunk The Kids” existence, you will explore vast landscapes as two miniature dolls. Yet, this is not your standard platforming experience. No, this is a co-operative essential game. In short, you must play with one other real person in couch co-op or online in order to get past the opening screen.

Like EA’s last co-op title A Way Out, this allows for any player to join the lobby of any friend who owns the licence. It’s a nice touch and prevents the argument where people don’t want to buy a game simply to play it with you. I applaud EA for their approach in this matter, as it would be easy to concentrate solely on sales than its gaming community.

Dr. Hakim is a Latino love god!

It Takes Two is a game of love and reconnecting.

When a game centres its story around separation and divorce, it’s going to be touching for many gamers. People’s opinions vary on the subject, but no matter your thoughts, we all have to agree that it’s a saddening and emotion laced concept. Luckily, EA Originals has focused all its energy on the rekindling of the broken relationship, and not the horrendous negativity that goes with it. This has created a somewhat amusing, warm and revealing story about two people who simply forgot what they mean to one another.

The premise for the game is simple, the couple must work together to overcome the obstacles they face. Queue many arguments and spats between the two, but they soon realise that they work better together when they communicate. You will; leap, sprint, wall climb and more. These Parkour moves will see you and your playing partner accelerate across the unusual playing surface. You will encounter some weird and wonderful “people” on your journey. Each will teach you a lesson about yourself, and how this trait has impacted your relationship.

A touching story, cleverly written.

Cody and May are the lead characters in It Takes Two. The couple bicker about the resentment they feel towards one another and decide divorce is the best option. Their daughter Rose overhears another of their fights, and the camera pans to two homemade dolls she is holding. They represent her parents, and she tells them she wishes that they never to part. 

The next day the heartbreaking news is broken to a quiet and reserved Rose. She asks to play and hides in the tool shed. Failing to compute what she has been told, she looks to The Book of Love by Dr. Hakim. It tells her that love requires work, and she doesn’t know why her parents won’t work for the love she can see between them. Understandably upset, her tears fall from her eyes and land on each of the dolls as she wishes they stay together. From here the adventure beings.

Cody and May awake to find they have transcended their own bodies to that of the homemade dolls. One a chubby clay man, the other a patchwork wooden doll. The house and the surrounding space now appear enormous and even the smallest of boxes is a challenge to overcome. What’s worse is The Book of Love has come to life. Dr. Hakim has possessed the book with his sexy voice and Latino ways. He acts as a guide and gives each chapter a purpose. He sends you on some bizarre journeys intending to fix your broken relationship.

Why let the snow slow you down?

It Takes Two has intriguing mechanics oozing from every pore. 

It wouldn’t be a platform game if it didn’t have all the aforementioned mechanics. Luckily, EA Originals have incorporated some more from other titles. Each additional skill is character specific and relate to the theme of each level you are playing. Cody may rewind time, whereas May can replicate herself.

These traits are brilliant to observe, but it can leave one part of the duo feeling like a voyeur. Where the game truly shines is the mechanics that require teamwork. These allow for the pair to work together to overcome puzzles, and to reach new otherwise unreachable places. It’s somewhat amusing observing May water Cody in a pot of soil to create a platform of leaves to leap upon. Or sap being launched on to obstacles only for fire to be shot at it to burn away the blockage to create a new path.

These are but some of the argument inducing elements that will guarantee fun, and fights among any gaming pair. There were many bitten lips, short, sharp sentences and giggles as we made our way through each level. A tester for any relationship, I think EA Originals has undoubtedly increased the divorce rate with this brilliant and patience testing title.

Brilliant locations and glorious characters.

It Takes Two allows its weird ideas to envelope every location it touches. You will explore out of this world areas and come crashing back down to a disco filled with items getting their groove on. It’s so surreal and odd that you allow its madness to wash over you. Going with the flow on this journey to rekindle love is a must. In doing so you’ll see every day mundane objects in a completely new light. Interacting with them will propel you into random mini-games that’ll have you shouting and roaring with laughter. It’s a whirlwind of an adventure, but it’s worth every minute.

Every part of this looks and plays out fantastically. A split screen has been cleverly incorporated, and the free flowing camera makes it easy to concentrate on what you are doing. The landscapes are vast and unique. The realistic zones use appropriate colours and tones, allowing the surreal levels to unleash every part of the rainbow. The clarity of the graphics, especially in the cutscenes gave the impression of an animated short film. Everything about how it looks is done to an incredibly high standard.

Luckily, the audio jumped on the bandwagon of excellence. You’ll cringe at Dr. Hakim’s sleazy ways, but he means well. The continual arguments amongst Cody and May reduce and the well acted dialogue flows alongside the story to its inevitable conclusion. The well thought out music enhances the emotion of each scene with a mixture of upbeat and sad tunes used. The sound effects match up with the dreamy weirdness of the whole situation, and will leave you equally bemused and entertained.

Who needs a horse?

Smooth and responsive.

For all its; great mechanics, wonderful audio, graphics, and excellent story telling, my favourite bit has to be the smooth controls. An odd thing to favour, you may think, but there is a method to my madness. My gaming partner was my wife. She doesn’t play normally, so a simple and responsive game made for a much more enjoyable experience. I don’t think I’ll be alone on this, and its ease will allow gamer of all ages to enjoy this.

When a game is such fun to play, why wouldn’t you want to return? Being able to play this with any of your friends for no additional cost is a massive plus. At a little over 10 hours gameplay, it offers enough depth to keep everyone happy. A tough achievement list will require you to explore and scoure each environment thoroughly. To get the 100% status you must select the right gaming partner, or be prepared to fight.

It Takes Two is a must have game!

Innovative games do not come around all too often. When one hits the market, you shouldn’t miss your chance to play it. I know I’ve gushed about my love of It Takes Two for an awful long time, but I don’t want you to miss out. You need this in your life, so buy it here! Rose doesn’t want to be part of a broken home. So help Cody and May see the errors of their ways, even if Dr. Hakim is a little cringe worthy. 

SUMMARY

A brilliant co-op platform game that is magical from beginning to end. Excellent game mechanics and some wonderful locations to visit. A title that is worthy of your monetary and emotional investment.

+ Stunning graphics.
+ Touching audio.
+ A well written script and story.
+ Innovative gameplay.
+ Responsive controls.
- Dr. Hakim amuses but will make you cringe.

(Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available on PC and PlayStation.)
Daniel Waite
My gaming career started on an Amiga and spans many consoles! Currently, I game using an MSI laptop and Xbox Series X. A fan of every genre, I love to give anything a go. Former editor and reviewer for www.bonusstage.co.uk, I'm loving my new home here at Movies Games and Tech. I can be contacted for gaming reviews on the following email: [email protected]

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