Honey, I was crippled by the baby!
To find the stardust in A Way Out did you have to wade through some shit. It was not quite where my expectations were, because after the debut (yes, debut!) med Brothers I did not think Josef Fares could be wrong. A Way Out was good though It Takes Two shows where the co-op cabinet should stand.
A Way Out was a roller coaster to play while It Takes Two offers literal carousels and roller coasters. It sucks (in the stomach, that is) and I hope it never stops spinning.
However, May and Cody would rather get off this shaky journey. They quarrel all the time, constantly have small toxic glitches in each back pocket, and their little girl becomes invisible – and unhappy. It’s the story of far too many families and I think just as many can learn from it It Takes Two.
Before every other weekday is a fact, Cody and May turn into little dolls. At the same time, their houses become a whole world filled with obstacles they can only overcome if they stick together. It takes two, you know?
It Takes Two is a platform adventure that constantly reinvents itself with new perspectives – splitscreen, 2d, top-down, up-and-down – and gameplay mechanics. Just like in the case A Way Out it is impossible to play on your own and you must have someone next to you. Digitally works, but it feels like the game is made for co-op chaos in front of the same screen. Splitscreen is completely independent. The variation is absurd. In one moment we both steer the same steamer while we fight against a huge plastic octopus, to fly through the garden in the next with the help of Cody’s boxer shorts. The roles are often different. When we fly, for example, May handles the cannon with Cody making sure to steer right. May is equipped with a hammer head while Cody shoots nails she can throw herself into. Cody gets a cannon that shoots sticky saw, which can be blown up with the help of May’s (child-friendly) machine gun.
Also read: Swedish PC Gamer 1996–2021
What is it?
Josef Fares next – and best! – co-op adventure.
Intel Core i7-7700, Gefore GTX 1080, 16 GB RAM
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A Way Out
In other games, the co-op mode may more or less feel like an afterthought, but here cooperation is A and O. The dialogue with the partner is ongoing. Sometimes it is a must to get past a railroad track where one has to stand on the right symbols to open the way for the other. Sometimes you just tan high on the Pixar-worthy intermediate sequences. Cody and May in all glory, but they fade next to the living self-help book Dr. Hakim, the toolbox from hell and the squirrel gang.
Fares knows what he wants and he does not want any “Fucking collectibles” (unclear if he actually said exactly that, but that would not surprise me) so instead the world is interactive and playful. The secrets consist of mini-games you can find a bit everywhere; tug-of-war, whac-a-mole, laser tennis, sniper, etc.
It’s usually hot that wonderful is short, but It Takes Two surprises by being a (reasonably) long adventure. Almost twice as far as A Way Out and moreover without any dead moments. Thanks.
The lack of dead moments, however, is something of a double-edged sword. It Takes Two is fully unconscious and you can rarely breathe out. Also, it is restless by itself and some mechanics I would love to explore much more are over in a few moments. At the same time, this is an interactive toy box and anyone who has dug deep into such knows how hard the pulse can beat.
It Takes Two captures this.
It also captures the essence of the Toy Story and the genre many people love to hate: rom-com. Above all, however, it makes 99 percent of all other co-op games feel fake. Like they’re not really co-op. While collaboration in other games is pasted at the last second, co-op is all in It Takes Two.
Also read: Loop Hero – Review
Two is better than one
Three more co-op games to love.
Co-op in its most crackling and playful form. Never stop making games, Josef.