Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Unravel Gamertroll Review - PS4 (Ver. Rv.), Xbox One, PC

What a cute little protagonist Yarny makes. Awww. It’s easy to see why EA chose to inject so much cash into Coldwood’s charming Indie puzzle platformer. Though If that cuteness was the only feather this game had in its cap, then it would just be another puzzle platformer with a high-budget visual buff up. Thankfully the premise upon which Coldwood have built their game's basic mechanics is both unique, rewarding and at times infuriating. That sounds surely like a recipe for success.

Yarny unravels wool from his body as you guide him through the gorgeous and tactile environments and that is precisely where the design ingenuity of this game becomes evident. The woolen thread to which Yarny is attached can be used for a myriad of functions, such as swinging, abseiling, tying off safety points, producing taught spring boards and lassos. Critically, the yarn is not just an agent facilitating progress, but sometimes a shockingly bastard element that literally holds you back. The wool is finite you see: fail to collect enough extra on Yarny’s journey or carelessly waste lengths of thread on needlessly muddled and circuitous paths and Yarny will come to a full stop like a toddler reaching the full extent of their baby reigns. Working out how to unravel the messes you’ve got Yarny into forms the most original part of Unravel’s gameplay. The other puzzle elements that involve manipulation of environmental objects are no less entertaining though, just less original in concept.
Most puzzles in Unravel are rewarding simply because you can work them out before executing the motions, but there are occasions where that finely tuned mechanic collapses giving way to frustrating exercises in trial and error. 

Cursing seems blasphemous against such a cute and endearing game, but if you are anything like Gamertroll there will be times where your friends/family/neighbours will be subjected to a red-faced onslaught of grotesque obscenities. Only a few times you understand, just know it will happen.

The backstory (that intrudes very little on actual play) is as vague as it is emotionally ambitious. The themes of loss and longing, fading memory and sentimentality complement the plush, multi focused graphical style superbly. The only real reservation this Troll found with Unravels story was that too little information is divulged plot-wise overall and it feels like a missed opportunity considering the quality of what little material the game does have. 

Gamertroll won’t chuff on endlessly about this simple little game, suffice to say that it’s a unique and charming puzzle platformer that makes for a fine snack between main course releases.

Great as it is, there are inherently limiting factors common to Indie-style games that even Unravels inflated budget doesn't eliminate, the main concern being one of longevity. Gamertroll can’t help but see this as one of the current 
crop of Indie releases that have been overpriced by about a third: A situation that will of course be rectified in inevitable and the never too distant online store sales. If you must play this now, understand it will be at a premium, if not, playing it at some point in the future is certainly recommended. 8/10

Want to see the beginning of Unravel? Click Gamertroll's Video Home Slice.

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