Divorce is always a challenging topic to talk about. Whether it comes from a family who has been through it or even part of a family who hasn’t, no one wants to talk about Divorce. So why would anyone make a video game revolving around this exact topic? That is the very question my wife and I asked ourselves when we first started playing It Takes Two. And even though the game had its ups and downs, just like in any relationship, everything that happens in the game explains why someone would make a game about a couple in the middle of getting a divorce.
It takes two starts off with two adults, May and Cody, arguing as their daughter Rose watches from her bedroom window. From the minute you start this game, you already begin to feel bad for this little girl, and once the parents tell her they are getting a divorce, your heart goes out for the kid. Like any child would do, she plays it off cool until out of her parent’s sight. Once free from being seen, she begins to talk to the handmade dolls of her parents and what seems to be a relationship book. As she starts to cry and wishes her parents would work things out, something strange seems to happen.
The next thing you know, it is time to play the game as the parents but not in their typical forms. Instead, you are the dolls the little girl was holding. If things weren’t already weird enough, right out of thin air, the book she was talking to appears in front of you. He explains how you can turn back into humans again, with the only way being you must fix your relationship. If my introduction to the game felt long, try sitting through all this in a cut scene with twice as much explanation. It felt as if we were watching a movie and not playing a video game from the very beginning.
I’m all for cut scenes and learning a back story, but this just felt to drag on longer than it had to. Once you finally control your character, you are put through a simple tutorial, which is pretty refreshing after such a long introduction. With a title like It takes Two, you know it’s going to be one of those games where working together is vital. Once things started moving, the fun began to pick up. As you start to progress through the story, you start to learn more about May and Cody and quickly pick up why this relationship is going south.
The game’s funny/witty nature makes for a great time as the two players’ bad mouth back and forth in the earlier levels. As you get further, you start to see the shift in how they talk to each other. All this working together through each level has made them more encouraging with one another. Every once in a while, you hear a slight insult, but it’s a more playful tone, a joking kind of manner almost like something you do as a kid when you have a crush on someone. The character development shines in this game and makes the story fun and interesting to play.
The characters aren’t the only reason why this game is such a joy to sit down and play. Its beautiful level design is incredible. No matter what level you are on, you truly feel as if you’re a little doll wandering through a giant world. As you climb a tree or walk through the garden or even climb a mountain in a snow globe, you feel that these levels couldn’t be designed any better. The visuals aren’t even the best part of each level. It’s the way the levels are involved in the puzzle-solving that makes them so great. Certain levels will have you walking on walls and hanging upside down just to unlock the path for the other player.
If puzzles aren’t your cup of tea in video games, don’t worry. It Takes Two has plenty of other things that make it enjoyable. The biggest thing is its boss fights. Since you got turned into tiny dolls and a book is talking to you, be prepared for anything to happen. Including aggressive vacuums trying to suck you up and talking squirrels kidnapping you and making you fight their battles. Since you are the landowners in this world, most of your encounters with some of these bosses aren’t very pleasant. The most unpleasant boss fight isn’t because of a boss, though. It’s you who is unpleasant to a very kind elephant that doesn’t deserve what you do to her. I won’t go into details because I don’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t played It Takes Two, but my soul still hurts to this day from playing that boss fight.
Another great thing you can do, depending on which one you are doing, is the mini-games. These can found throughout your journey. It Takes Two doesn’t come with hidden secrets or collectibles, so the mini-games are a nice touch for those gamers who are always on the lookout for hidden objects in games. Now I do have to say some of the games are dull and not really worth the time, but some are exciting and really can bring out the competition with you and your playing partner.
Once you have finally made it through your journey, you come to the final level. The level in the attic is super fun and very colorful as you close out the ending of the storyline. With May and Cody finally starting to see the other side of things and working things out, you expect this big finish of a happy ending. The good news is you get a happy ending, but we were expecting it to be better with all this build-up. It was kind of flat and didn’t match the game as a whole. I and my wife both looked at each other and really said, “That’s It?”
After that level, May and Cody snap out of their deep sleep and are finally human once again. As they make their way into Rose’s room, they notice a note that says she has run away. It’s here when you think you might get the closer you missed in the level of the attic, but once again, it falls flat. It leaves you with more questions than it really should. Yes, Cody and May might work on their marriage and be happy forever, but to be honest, it’s kind of hard to tell with the way they left it at the end.
This brings me back to the lengthy cut scene. It’s almost as if the developers made the whole game and then said, let’s just whip up something for the opening cut scene and closing cut scene real quick and call it a day. I never really had an issue with the cut scenes in the middle of the game. It was only the super long first one and the disappointing last one. Luckily, these two cut scenes didn’t hurt the gameplay, but unfortunately, they hurt the storyline.
Overall It Takes Two was a fantastic game! From its amazing character development to its fun and engaging gameplay, I highly recommend playing it. I enjoyed being able to sit next to the person I was playing with instead of playing with them online. You still have the option to do that as well, making it that much better. The level design just blew me away with its bright colors and cool concept of involving the level in its puzzle-solving. We didn’t have too many bad experiences except for a couple of the mini-games were boring, and the first and final cut scenes could have been a little more polished. I had a blast playing as Cody, and my wife had fun as May. I also found that the two characters’ objectives seem to be unbalanced because May had more active jobs, and Cody had to do more waiting around, but it didn’t seem so unbalanced that it caused any problems with gameplay.
If you are on the fence about getting It Takes Two, I can promise you it is worth every penny. The immersion and content this game brings are incredible, and it will definitely have you feeling way too many feelings. (The Elephant level really almost made me cry.) So if you love co-op games and great level design, It Takes Two is the perfect game for you.
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