“It Takes Two” offers two-player fun in a game for all
|By Anna Kleinschnitz, Staff Writer|
After their breakout game “A Way Out” in 2018, Hazelight Studios has created another enthralling multiplayer experience, “It Takes Two.” With this recent release, the studio has managed to create a game that is adorable, crude, and semi-terrifying all at once.
The game begins with the players finding out that two characters, May and Cody, are getting a divorce that their daughter, Rose, is very upset about. Rose casts a spell with the intention to fix their marriage, but instead turns them into dolls. The players explore the world around their house in doll form, getting into all manners of collaborative mischief, all with the intention of becoming human again and fixing their marriage.
The story is not groundbreaking but is extremely sweet and charming. Since the story is about fixing a relationship, the journey you take shows the players the components of a healthy one. The game deserves praise here for showing that a relationship is not just about love or attraction, though they are important, but that it is also about following your own dreams and being happy with who you are.
When you begin this game, you will probably not enjoy the main two characters. May and Cody are polar opposites who are constantly at each other’s throats, and the first main goal of the game is to make their daughter cry.
Despite this bumpy start, you see these characters grow within themselves, and their relationship, and in this they become likeable. Their personalities work in a way that shows you why they got together in the first place, and what parts of who they are tore them apart.
The daughter, Rose, is adorable and you want what she wants; probably because she is a child and is easy to relate to.
The last big character we encounter is “The Book of Love”, also known as Dr. Hakim, who plays as the characters’ couples’ therapist. He is the comic relief of this story, but his jokes can be very hit or miss. He is funny, but in a weird and awkward way.
When it comes to what you are seeing and hearing as you play through this story, very few games are capable of this level of whimsy and imagination. Each landscape is creative and thought through. Whether it be a snowy mountain town or a colorful kaleidoscope, the creators accounted for and deeply considered every detail.
Every character in doll form also looks fantastic and adorable. The only exception to everything looking fantastic are the human models; human May and Cody and Rose all slightly fall into the uncanny valley. Luckily, a majority of the game is not revolved around them in this form, and it is never bad enough to ruin how great everything else looks.
The cherry on top of this audio-visual display is the sound this game has. The music adds magic – it fills you with wonder, makes you nervous, and on a couple of occasions, makes you severely regret their actions.
The voices of the characters fit them exceptionally well and add just that extra hint of personality that comes with good voice acting. Dr. Hakim’s voice might get irritating, but so is the character, so it works.
When it comes to the gameplay, the game does a good job of keeping your attention and making sure things stay interesting. In each chapter, the creators give May and Cody two separate but complimentary powers to get through.
Sometimes, your character’s power might have been more fun or exciting, but overall, it was very well balanced. The way the characters move is fluid and genuinely fun to control. The only problem with this was that the camera is not always in the best spot for what you are doing.
The multiplayer part of this game can get annoying at times. You can never get too far through a chapter without waiting for your partner to help you complete a puzzle, and if you are playing with someone less skilled, just remember – it takes two!
Overall, the game is not one-hundred percent perfect. The humor can be weird at times, some of the controls can be wonky, and the humans do not look convincing, but despite that, the game is special.
Just playing it, you can tell that it was a passion project for the people making it and you honestly feel that love that the creators put into it. I recommend playing it for yourself, with a friend or family member, and seeing the cute and goofy “It Takes Two” for the unique game it is.