Playing games with friends has always been something I have been interested in. To me, multiplayer games heighten the experience of any game I play. Hazelight Studios’ first game, A Way Out, introduced the mandatory two-player gameplay, which proved interesting and unique. It Takes Two takes the idea and blows it out of the water, improving on every aspect and making it one of the best games of the year so far.
It Takes Two puts players in the shoes of Cody and May, a married couple who are planning to get a divorce. After informing their daughter, Rose, that they are breaking up, she takes matters into her own hands. Rose takes two hand-made dolls that resemble her parents and wishes upon a relationship therapy book. Soon, Cody and May are transformed into the dolls with the therapy book turned love guru, Dr. Hakim, sending them on a rigorous journey in the hope of fixing their relationship.
“There are even interactable objects that instantly kill you, but that’s a part of the fun.”
This results in a Honey I Shrunk the Kids-style narrative, filled with humour, detours, and stunning platforming. The game manages to throw you in multiple directions where you never know what is next. One minute, Cody and May are battling a giant wasp robot, and the next, they’re working together to escape a squirrel attack in a battle that would rival Street Fighter or Tekken. Video game references are everywhere in It Takes Two, and while I don’t want to spoil them all, one of the final references is the perfect culmination of the game.
The feeling of not knowing what is coming next is a big part of what makes the game so special. Every step of the way, It Takes Two conjures up original gameplay. Throughout the 10 hour adventure, every obstacle and puzzle feels unique. There is no feeling of repetition, and every situation is delightful. I also never felt like I lacked a sense of direction, and locating my next objective was always incredibly easy. There are even interactable objects that instantly kill you, but that’s a part of the fun.
Every level you transverse through is stunning and delicately designed. There are plenty of environments to explore, from the garden’s evil flowers to putting on a show for glow sticks. There is never a dull moment in It Takes Two. Occasionally, the maps would open up, which leaves you to explore the vast interactive world. This would result in snowball fights, snow angels, and even the frustrating helltower. All of this is designed so you can make your own fun and enjoy it with your partner.
“There is a lot of marriage or couple-related humour that might not land with a different audience.”
Minigames are scattered throughout the seven different chapters in It Takes Two. These games pit you against your partner in a battle to the death! Or something more simple like a snail race. Playing with my non-gamer girlfriend, I naturally beat her in the minigames until I didn’t. After she won her first game against me, she was bent on beating me every time we found one of the 25 minigames. These were a refreshing break from the cooperative gameplay loop, and sitting smugly on the couch after winning never gets old.
One of the only downsides to It Takes Two is the chapter lengths and story pacing. I felt like some sections of the game were prolonged and could have been cut shorter. I also felt as if I enjoyed the game more as I was playing with my significant other instead of a child or friend. There is a lot of marriage or couple-related humour that might not land with a different audience.
It Takes Two is reasonably priced at US$39.99 / AU$59.95 / £34.99. However, the game utilises a friend pass, meaning you can invite a friend to play with you. As long as you have bought the game, your partner will not have to pay. This inclusion single-handedly makes It Takes Two a must-play game.