Unravel is an adorable puzzle platformer set in a world where anything is possible with a ball of yarn and a heart of gold. Inspired by Umeå Sweden, the artistry is overwhelmingly beautiful and exceptionally immersive, at times you will find yourself just staring into the background wondering what it would be like to live in such a picturesque landscape. As Yarny “our woollen knitted protagonist” sets out on his noble mission it becomes immediately apparent that his personality is just as vast and complex as the world around him. The storyline seems to surround an elderly Swedish lady and her memories of a long life spent with family and loved ones. After Yarny’s seemingly accidental creation, morphing from an old ball of yarn, he finds an old book on the dining room table, it appears to be empty, he sets off through the framed memories that scatter the old ladies house. Ostensibly as yarny relives each memory the book is filled with pictures and stories from the old ladies past.
It is said that Yarny himself is a symbol of love and togetherness and the further he strays from home “a place of love” he slowly unravels leaving a trail of wool in his path. Presumably this is a metaphor for the importance of keeping in touch with the ones you love. Even though you feel so small and helpless as you guide Yarny from one puzzle to another using nothing but strands of red yarn and pure motivation. You come to realise that there is a simple solution to every problem, and all that is needed is a deep breath and some determination to solve them. This story is full of underlying messages “if you choose to read into them” which are just as beautiful and staggering as the world it is set in!
The gameplay and controls are very simple and after a short tutorial you are off on your first adventure. From traversing up trees by lassoing small clumps of wool, swinging from branch to branch, to riding logs down a river after a paper kite ride through the wind, there is nothing this little guy can’t accomplish. For a 4” nothing anthropomorphic ball of wool, Yarny seems to have quite a lot of strength. From Pushing boulders and logs along a tight rope of wood, to flicking large levers and even at one stage pulling a child’s tricycle down a driveway there are many different items in the world you are able to use to your advantage. At the start the puzzles seem quite simple, but an observant mind is needed to find and acquire the tokens hidden throughout the levels. As you progress through picture frames “or levels” the Puzzles start making you think a little harder, “Warning; rage quitting is inevitable!” until you finally get stuck. Take a step back and a deep breath and you will have it sorted in no time.
The developers Coldwood are also based in northern Sweden and have built themselves up from a very small indie studio to one of the most successful in the area, and for good reason. The polish on this game is second to none, seriously I can’t stress enough how amazing it looks. At the end of the day it isn’t just another side scrolling puzzle platformer, there is so much more to this game that you can’t read in a review. Even if you’re new to the genre or a fan of the medium it’s a must play.
The presentation is perfect and the gameplay is great, if not a little easy. This game is great puzzle smashing, all ages fun!
So when all is said and done… The moral of the story is, be good to your grandma. Go see her, buy her flowers and ring her for her birthday. Otherwise she might knit a woollen golem to come and find you and murder you in your sleep!
This has been Dreadlock Spartan (aka Simon) with my review of Unravel!
About: Simon Mawson
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