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Tales from the Backlog: Unravel

Puzzle-platforming with heart
June 30, 2016

The older I get, the more I realize that finding time to play video games is becoming increasingly difficult. This past weekend, I found myself with some extra time and decided to go through my embarrassingly long backlog of games to play something new. I chose to play Unravel, a single-player puzzle-platformer about an adorable little yarn creature appropriately named Yarny. The game was released this past February, and if I had known then how much I would enjoy it, I would’ve bought it the second it was released.

The story unravels (sorry) slowly as you play the game. Each level contains memories of an elderly woman (whom you meet at the beginning of the game), and you will learn more about her and her family as you progress through the levels. Each level is based on a real location in Sweden, developer Coldwood Interactive’s home turf.

Yarny gets around by using their flesh (which happens to be red yarn) to cross gaps, swing from trees, and fight off enemies. You collect more yarn to progress - Yarny can’t continue unless they collect more yarn at each checkpoint. The developers aren’t conservative with said checkpoints, either; if you screw up (which I did quite often), you won’t waste too much time getting back to where you were before you got crushed with a rock (yeah, I did that). I do admit to getting stumped by a couple of the puzzles and having to resort to a YouTube walkthrough to get past them, but I enjoyed the challenge. Despite it looking like a game for children, Unravel may be a little too challenging for most younger kids.

Unravel is a lot like LittleBigPlanet and Limbo, two games I love dearly. As a platformer alone, Unravel is nothing special, but combined with challenging (but fun) puzzles, a beautiful art style, and an adorable, lovable protagonist, it becomes nothing short of spectacular. I loved every second I spent controlling Yarny, and I finished the game with tears in my eyes.

Games like Unravel cannot be made without heart. It is obvious, from the first time you see Yarny to the last, that developer Coldwood Interactive really cares about the game that they created. I wish all game developers put as much love and care into their games as Coldwood did with Unravel. I look forward to seeing Yarny again in Unravel 2, which was confirmed last month by EA. Bravo, Coldwood Interactive: You moved me with your beautiful game and made me fall in love with a little character made of red yarn. Your game inspires me to create my own game in the future.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Yarny last weekend, and they didn’t overstay their welcome (although, I could never get tired of seeing their cute little face).

Guess what? I plan to make Unravel my next platinum trophy! Want to join me as I slowly but surely earn each trophy? Follow me at www.twitch.tv/gottosaurus.

  • Cassie is a 20-something gamer, social media guru, writer, music lover, and photographer from the Milford, Delaware area. She has a passion for video games that started when she was given an NES Top Loader as a young child. Super Mario Bros. was the first game she ever played, and it's still one of her favorite games to this day. She also has a love for photography, and most enjoys photographing animals and children. Her favorite games are The Last of Us and Uncharted 3, and her hype for Uncharted 4 is immeasurable. Follow her on... Instagram | Twitter | Twitch

    Cassie also has a photography blog, CGW Photos, here on BeachPaper.com. You can also follow her on Instagram.