It Takes Two game review (2021)

It Takes Two forces you to play with someone else, delivering an adventurous co-op game that’s full of heart, incredibly unique plat-forming levels, and it’s always delivering new ways to play on each stage.

Director Josef Fares is a firecracker of an individual, there’s no denying that. There’s also no denying the talent he has for creating unique and enjoyable video games. Although I’ve never played Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, I have played the follow-ups, those being A Way Out and, the most recent effort, It Takes Two, which were both developed by Hazelight Studios. With these three games, it’s clear the audience Fares is trying to target and the games he’s trying to make. These games may not attract all kinds of gamers, but it’ll definitely catch the attention of most if they’re willing to give it a try. That’s exactly what I did with It Takes Two and it did no disappoint.

In It Takes Two, you play as either Cody or Mae, a married couple who are going through some marital struggles and it’s evidently taking a toll on their daughter, who finds out they’re breaking up. With two toy dolls she made to resemble her parents, she goes into a shed and begins to play with the two dolls in an effort to try and fix their marriage. As she begins to cry, a tear falls on the dolls and now, Cody and Mae are trapped inside the dolls. Trying to return to their normal human bodies, they embark on an adventure through various locations in the house, in the backyard, and even in a tree, just to return to their lives.

Being a 3D platformer, this game takes heavy inspiration from some of the greats. Throughout my playthrough, I got callbacks to a number of different platformers I’ve played throughout the years, including Super Mario, Spyro, Rayman, Ratchet & Clank, and so on based on the level design, some of the gameplay elements, and the heart and charm the game has. It really blends everything together in an interesting way to set itself apart. The main factor contributing to this is the co-op element.

In order to play this game, you need to play with someone else. It may sound like a bit of a turn off at first glance, but once you start playing and progressing through the story and levels, it all starts to come together and make sense. Certain actions and advancements can’t be done without the help of your co-op partner. For example, as you play through different levels, you’ll acquire different weapons and tools to aid you on the journey. There’s one instance where Cody carries nails, while Mae holds a hammer. To traverse to a different platform, Cody has to throw nails on the wall and Mae is able to jump and hook on, swinging to the next nail before reaching the destination. This is just once instance of how the two work together, though. There are various different ways they compliment each other on the journey which really adds some originality to the gameplay and it’s always delivering a new and refreshing experience.

That’s another aspect the game excels at, that being how it introduces new ways of playing. Every level feels distinct from the last. Obviously, the basic fundamentals of the game remain the same, but you’re not always doing the same thing over and over, which some platformers are guilty of. Although this may not have the freedom of other platformers since there’s a more linear approach to the game and how the story is told, it does have plenty of variety in how you get things done thanks to what the game offers you when yo reach a new part of the story. You won’t be back-tracking much in this game in order to find certain points of interests or hidden collectables you may have missed. But, there’s enough to do on this adventure, offering various innovative ways to play with what’s in the game.

The story can be a bit cheesy and it’s definitely aimed for kids at times, but it’s also very heartfelt. Anybody who’s a parent who may have relationship struggles or even a child who has experienced their parents having marital issues can relate to this game in more ways than one. I know I can, which made it all the more emotionally compelling.

This is a fun and memorable platformer for me. I think more could’ve been done in order to take advantage of the world that was established, but I’m content with the linear approach since it makes since with what Fares as trying to do. I’m sure he’s not done creating more games like this, which are slowly but surely redefining the genre.

Score: A-

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