It Takes Two – You Never Play Alone (Image: EA).
The creator of the brothers: The story of Two Sons and Out continues with the obsession with cooperative play, perhaps the best game yet.
The history of cooperative games is not full of great successes. Gamers obviously welcome cooperative multiplayer games like Among Us or Left 4 Dead, but from EA’s awful Army Of Two to A Way Out – developer Hazelight’s prequel It Takes Two – forcing players to find a friend to play with seems like a generally unpopular decision.
And yet, here we are again at a game that can only be played with someone else. Whether with friends online or split screen on a shared couch, It Takes Two is truly a game for two. It tells the story of a couple who decide to separate and their young daughter, whose tears of anguish are combined with the desire to translate the identities of both parents into little dolls who must work together to regain their normal form.
As trite as it may sound, the game’s semi-realistic graphics and warm sense of humor do the rest without resorting to watered-down jokes, allowing you to enjoy unexpectedly excellent entertainment made even better by the participation of a friend. As with A Way Out, you only need one copy of the game to play online, and if a friend is missing, they can play along without owning their own copy. Since the cooperative is your only option, this is an integral part of generosity.
The player chooses one parent puppet at a time and immediately begins the action, which takes place in various rooms and areas of the family’s house and garden. The mouse perspective gives each realm a Brobdingnagian feel, which is further enhanced by the beautifully detailed environments, all of which have been worked into a fantastic setting.
Whether fighting heavily militarized squirrels and their wasp enemies in a sprawling hollow tree or playing in space levels with their randomized zero gravity and variable magnitude mechanics, everything becomes more exciting than the real world allows. This is the case with the bosses reinventing mundane objects as evil titans to be slaughtered in an imaginary partnership.
Each area you encounter adds its own mechanisms. In one, your miniature heroes are armed with a claw hammer and a throwing nail. From these two simple tools come dozens of brilliantly designed challenges, using the nail as a support to swing through large spaces or hold portals open while brave puppets run to the other side. During this time, the hammer can press special keys, crush obstacles and, if you want, push another character into the ground.
While you can’t fight other players in Double Dragon or bump them off high platforms, there are plenty of points where you can abuse the game mechanics for fun, as well as 25 mini-games where players compete against each other, many of which offer WarioWare-like beat ’em up entertainment. QTE-based bull rodeo, tug-of-war, and two-player tank battles on colorful laptops are complemented by dozens more that you can play individually as you unlock them.
It Takes Two – it can get pretty meta (Image: EA)
These are also more common sections. Instead of equality between the two dolls, many mechanisms are asymmetrical, with each parent having to complete their own task to win the day. There are many times when confidence and timing are critical, when one player sets up platforms for the other to jump on. One second of hesitation or accidentally touching the wrong platform means the other person’s immediate death. Depending on your relationship with the second player, each of these times is conducive to trickery and games.
It turns out that this is the real magic: It takes two. Mechanics are used, explored, and then quickly abandoned before you jump on the roller coaster that leads to the next level, but throughout the game it’s all fun and games. The really tough moments are reserved for hilarity and goofiness, some of which are scripted, but most of which are both intentional and unintentional. This makes for a hilarious moment that absolutely must be entertained, not just for fun, but for playful ridicule.
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It Takes Two is not without its flaws, and perhaps the worst flaw is the lack of storage points. If you’re playing locally on your PlayStation 5 and don’t have any other games to play, it’s not that big of a deal, but if you have to reload the game by default for the last autosave, which can sometimes be much further away than you think. With short and mostly simple mechanics, it’s not much fun, but it could have easily been avoided.
But it doesn’t matter. Playing It Takes Two feels like an endless carnival of bright colors, wacky characters and elegantly designed cooperative challenges, with very clever level design and moments of fun and friendly competition. It works well not only because of its resourcefulness, but also because the presence of a friend becomes a constant catalyst for pleasure through shared experiences. Proving that the concept only works in collaboration, it turns out Hazelight Studios was right all along.
It accepts two control summaries
In a nutshell: A cheerful, colorful, and highly inventive cooperative game that makes good use of the availability of two players for its unique challenges and unscripted banter.
For : A wide variety of themes and challenges, often hilarious mini-games that can be played separately. A boss fight hack and a rare chance to work together in split screen.
Delays: Rare and poorly reported conservation items. Sometimes there are times when you need another player to be less lame, and you really can’t do it alone.
Formats : PlayStation 5 (with review), Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S and PC
Price: 34,99 €
Publisher : Developer EA
: Hazelight Studios
Release date : 26. March 2021 Age group
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frequently asked questions
Can we play with two individual players?
Unfortunately, you can’t play It Takes Two in the single player. It’s only 100% cooperative.
How can I play with a friend?
From the main menu, a player who already has a game must invite their friend. Your friend will then be directed to a store where they can download It Takes Two. Once the game loads, they can play with their friend.
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