Review: It Takes Two (Hazelight Studios) – English

Two bickering, divorcing parents are (unknowingly) turned into two dolls by their daughter and a touch of magic in the hope of saving their bond with their daughter and possibly even their relationship. Will you and your co-player manage to play and work together? Like a real married couple, players will bicker and discover each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Cooperation? It Takes Two!

Relationships do not happen automatically and you have to work very hard (together) for a relationship to succeed, and giving up is sometimes easy. Besides, some relationships just seem doomed to fail. No one who marries or goes together out of pure love ever hopes to divorce or break up, but sometimes life runs the way it does. Cody and May, Rose’s parents and also main characters of the game It Takes Two, plan to divorce after eternal bickering, but know the bad news is even worse. Rose has made two dolls out of her parents and found a love manual in the hope of bringing her parents together. Through a spark of magic, Cody and May transform into the dolls Rose has pieced together. Cody and May must learn to work together to reach Rose and perhaps also get to know each other again. The story is light-hearted, human and at times therapeutic. Although the story is light-hearted and the aesthetics colourful and sometimes childlike, the game clearly has an older audience in mind due to its theme and challenging gameplay.

As with Hazelight’s first title, A Way Out, It Takes Two (published by EA Games) is only playable with two people. This may sound like a hindrance to some players, but as with its predecessor, precisely because It Takes Two is only playable with two people, it gives an unparalleled gameplay experience and appropriately thematic narrative, as the entire development of this title was focused on creating the most unique cooperative play experience possible. Many games that offer a cooperative mode founder creatively on setting up puzzles where one player has to eliminate an obstacle so that the other player can progress, similar to holding a door open so that the other player can pass through the opening. It Takes Two goes beyond that by giving each of the characters special abilities throughout the game’s various chapters, which a player can use individually, but each time players slowly learn that they need to combine their acquired powers to overcome challenges. Collaboration is key in terms of gameplay, but also in terms of story. Keyword: co-la-bo-ra-tion!

Players will discover different worlds, but at the same time different fusions of play styles, genres, themes and game elements. As a result, a game full of surprises awaits players. The basis of It Takes Two is a third-person platformer action game, but each world has its own theme, associated special powers and twists that sometimes literally and figuratively turn the game upside down. Indeed, It Takes Two almost seamlessly weaves together different game mechanics and genres. Without giving too many spoilers, one minute players have to try to climb a tower with special equipment like a Super Mario game, shoot down insects like a third-person shooter, and in a Diablo-like world they have to fight monsters with magic a sword. In the different worlds, each player gets unique items and bonuses that they can use together. For me personally, this made It Takes Two feel like a mental and digital advent calendar, where each new world was a box with a surprise, making me and my fellow player prefer to finish the game in a single sitting.

Nowadays, in a video game landscape full of open world games and collectathons to extend play time (often monotonously), players can collect so-called collectibles in It Takes Two too. It Takes Two does go a step further here. In fact, the collectibles in the game are various minigames. After finding a minigame, players can (re)play it as many times as they like. The game keeps track of how many times a player has won certain minigames, so the game also has a (depending on the players even vicious) competitive element. The minigames range from the usual suspects to unexpected surprises and even to board games and full-blown video games. So besides a very robust adventure, players also get a selection of minigames that is stronger on its own than many a standalone collection of minigames. The combination of a good story, surprising and varied gameplay, makes It Takes Two highly recommended.