First Impressions : It Takes Two

First Impressions : It Takes Two - Blogging with Dragons

 

As I stated in my Currently Playing for April 2021, I recently picked up It Takes Two, a co-op puzzle platformer which emphasizes working together to progress through the game. In fact, this game is so focused on its collaborative experience, that only one player actually needs to own the game! The other player can just download the Friend’s Pass to join in. How cool is that?

 

It Takes Two follows main characters May and Cody as they navigate their crumbling relationship after they are turned into dolls! A magic marriage self-help book forces them to cooperate through puzzles and platformer challenges to learn to work together and to simply tolerate one another again. Here are my first impressions of this unique game.

 

1. The Best part of this game is the gameplay

The gameplay of It Takes Two, which combines platforming, puzzles, and cooperation is the highlight of the game. The focus on enjoyment and collaboration means that players are easily able to laugh at their own deaths, which only result in a temporary displacement and not the loss of items or anything else serious.

 

2. Really does require collaboration

It Takes Two really pushes the collaboration between players, who take on the role of an unhappy couple, May and Cody, who are headed for divorce. I was really surprised at just exactly how much collaboration is required and was shocked that the screen was split, despite not playing in couch co-op. This split screen makes for an interesting dynamic, as characters can look at each other’s screens to conquer a number of different challenges together, even if temporarily separated. It’s really a unique and innovative cooperative experience that I think will change how companies design cooperative games in the future.

 

3. some odd choices

I’m perpetually confused about why there are competitive minigames in It Takes Two when most of the story, quite literally in the form of a book offering love advice, beats you over the head with the idea of collaborating. I can’t help but feel it’s counterproductive. I also think it’s weird that this book, written by a Dr. Hakim, which sounds Arabic to me, is portrayed as an over the top Spanish character, complete with mariachi music every time he talks. Think Buzz Lightyear when he got set to Spanish mode in Toy Story, but infinitely more obnoxious.

 

4. Parents Beware

If you were thinking about playing this with your kid, I advise some caution. There is not only frequent swearing in the game, but surprisingly gruesome moments. Characters that help you on your quest all seem to meet pretty brutal end, with very little concern or empathy from May and Cody, who have no problem stepping on the little people to get where they’re going. There are also some pretty intense death scenes for May and Cody as well sometimes, with characters getting impaled by nails, etc. Plus, May and Cody aren’t exactly role models, since they are constantly at each other’s throats over every little thing. Their divorce proceedings are anything but amicable and its impossible to ignore.

 

5. May and cody are both awful

At first, I really thought Cody was the main problem, as his wife is working a ton of hours to support the family and is obviously burned out. But as I progressed through the game, I realized that both characters are actually quite awful. I get that they are going through a rough patch, but my god, are they unlikable.  Not really sure how these two ever managed to raise Rose, their sweet and quiet daughter, when they themselves are such selfish terrors, who merely buy their daughter toys and leave her to her own devices.

 

I almost wish that the game had found a way to keep out its main message, of finding friendship and love again, because it’s so emotionally taxing in what should be a lighthearted game. It really doesn’t help that May and Cody nitpick each other over every little thing, and weaponize their daughter in their relationship battles. I really can’t stand either of them, and wish they didn’t talk, ever. It doesn’t help that the voice actor for Cody is perpetually whiny and May’s is likewise condescending and put out at all times. Though It Takes Two adds moment of humor through its side characters, it’s not enough to ignore the pervasive conflict between the married couple.

 

6. Bosses and puzzles are Challenging

I was pleasantly surprised by the bosses in It Takes Two. They are pretty challenging, and fun, often requiring several attempts to beat them, but not too many that it is frustrating. It Takes Two is really great at balancing challenge and enjoyment, providing just enough of a challenge to make things interesting, but managing to keep it fun. Likewise, the puzzles definitely require players to use their brain and to problem solve, but aren’t too difficult that players will need to search the internet for answers.

 

7. expect the unexpected

I really never know what is coming next in this game. At times it feels like a mix between Fall Guys and other platformers, only to surprise me with a flying course filled with obstacles, a Tekken-like fighting battle, and more.

 

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I’m very interested to see how It Takes Two will pull off the reconciliation between May and Cody, which I know is coming due to the whole message of the game. I wonder if they will be able to make it at all realistic, with how much these characters seem to dislike every little thing about each other.  Regardless of how the story ends, I really am enjoying the It Takes Two, for the sheer sake of the gameplay. It’s been so much fun playing with a friend, and we often break into giggles at our deaths, and the different challenges that we each struggle at, while the other player flies through it with ease.  I will certainly share my final thoughts on this game when I complete it!

 

 

It Takes Two

Developer: Hazelight Studios

Publisher:  Electronic Arts

Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Series S, Microsoft Windows

Release Date(s): March 26, 2021

Game type:  Platform game, Action-adventure game, Adventure

Synopsis: Embark on the craziest journey of your life in It Takes Two. Invite a friend to join for free with Friend’s Pass and work together across a huge variety of gleefully disruptive gameplay challenges.

 

 

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First Impressions : It Takes Two - Blogging with Dragons

Posted April 23, 2021 in Games

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