What do you get if you take the studio behind A Way Out, throw in some 3D platforming, a smidge of romantic comedy and an emphasis on co-op gameplay? The answer is It Takes Two. The new game from developer Hazelight which goes for a slightly lighter tale than the companies previous games.
Slightly being a key word here because of what It Takes Two is all about.
The leads of It Takes Two are Cody and May. An unhappily married couple that have decided they want a divorce. Something they announce to their daughter, Rose, with the subtlty of a brick in the small of the back. Things happen and all of a sudden Cody and May are turned into dolls their daughter made.
What happens next is a series of increasingly ridiculous events as the two of them try and figure out what’s going on and how to get back to normal. There’s luckily a guide to help them figure this out that may also help them realise what made them fall in love in the first place. That guide is The Book of Love.
The Book of Love is loud and over the top and used to help guide the two of them towards an answer. He often pops up to help lighten the tone with his ridiculousness and is, for the most part, quite endearing.
The same can’t be said about Cody and May who spend huge chunks of the game being fairly terrible people and reasonably oblivious to that fact. Like all good romantic comedies though there’s room for them to grow and, as you progress they do become characters you’re rooting for.
Sometimes the delivery of lines or the script itself can feel a touch cheesy but, considering this is a romantic comedy, it’s never something that feels jarring or out of place. It’s a fun story though that has plenty of moments that’ll make you laugh in-between shouting at each other for doing the wrong thing in the game.
Style and Sound
Minus some lines not landing the sound in the game is wonderful. The music compliments each section of the game perfectly. There’s lots of fun pieces of dialogue in there to help add more context or personality to what’s going on and the back and forth between Cody and May does help tell you a lot about them.
The style and look of the game is also a delight. The human characters can look a touch uncanny valley at times but everything else works so well. There’s a lot of variety in the characters you encounter in the game and each of them look lovely.
With the variety of areas on display in the game too it means that nearly everywhere you go feels different to where you’ve been. There’s so much this game does and it would be easy for some areas to be less wow because of this, but It Takes Two maintains a high quality throughout.
Gameplay and Entertainment
This is one of the biggest strengths of It Takes Two. The game has mechanics that resurface throughout the entirety of the game like platforming, wall jumping, rail grinding and a few other bits and pieces. Outside of these core gameplay mechanics though there’s a huge level of variety.
In one stage you’ll be firing projectiles to stick in walls whilst your partner uses their item to swing across. In another you’ll be pushing something whilst your partner has the power to pull it.
Each stage has its unique hook for the two hero characters and each stage feels like a unique experience. There’s definitely some stages that feel stronger (and a level select makes it very easy to go back to them whenever you want) but the sheer amount of variety in It Takes Two is genuinely impressive. If Hazelight had chosen just one or two of the powers your characters have to build the whole game around it would still be a fun experience.
Thanks to them choosing to add variety though it means that you have an experience that is not only fun but one that is always evolving. It means you’re always learning and getting that sense of achievement each time you figure out what to do.
Throw in a wonderful selection of mini games for you to track down and lots of things to interact with that encourage exploration and you’ve got a game that you can happily spend your time lost in for a while.
The story itself may be linear but I’m already excited to jump back in and track down more trophies and mini games. It’s an experience where co-op play comes naturally and it always feels fresh for each player what they’re doing on each stage. It’s not just a case of “OK you shoot things all the time and I’ll support”. The roles change frequently which helps make repetitiveness less.
It Takes Two has some basic accessibility options like sound adjustment, subtitles and changing sensitivities. It does lack more advanced options though. QTE moments happen occasionally which seem to often require button mashing.
Characters do have infinite lives though and it loads quickly each time you do lose one. You can also change characters easily on the main menu, although there is no way to switch what side of the screen they appear on which is a slight nuisance for local co-op.
Should You Play It Takes Two?
It Takes Two is some of the most fun I’ve had with a co-op game for years and is easily one of the best games of 2021 so far.
There are plenty of moments where I was in stitches because of awkward fails on either my part or my co-op partner as we played through the game. It does a great job in delivering those naturally fun co-operative moments. There was also plenty of “eureka” moments in the game. Puzzles and gameplay in general are rarely repetitive and it really helps each success feel fresh.
There’s so much on offer in It Takes Two and it does it all so well. If you’re looking for a new game to play with your friend or partner then It Takes Two should be at the top of your list. It’s a delight.
Code provided by EA for review purposes on PS5.
Feature Image Credit: EA