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unravel review

From the moment we set eyes on him at E3 in 2015, Yarny has captured our hearts. Unravel, developed by Coldwood for 2.5 years and published by EA for Xbox One, Playstation 4, and PC, is a whimsical puzzle game that takes you through Yarny’s journey through the world and the memories stored inside the scrapbook of a lonely older woman.


The story opens with a cut scene of a woman reminiscing over pictures in a scrapbook. As she ascends the stairs, a red ball of yarn drops down and Yarny appears. The first thing that hit me in this game was the graphics. The graphics are stunning; the emotion shown on the woman’s face as she pours over the pictures is so detailed and so beautiful. The soft and calming music puts the player at ease as you start to move with Yarny. The first item you find is the scrapbook, and when you look through it, the words are blurred and the pictures are cracked. Moving forward, you come across a picture and hop in to start your journey to unlocking the words and pictures in the scrapbook.


Even the opening cut scene is emotional. The player feels for the woman and sympathizes with her losses. I can’t say enough about the beauty of the graphics. They’re just absolutely incredible. There are some big details that capture your eye such as the motion of the crabs when they snap at you, and some smaller ones as well, like the subtlety of Yarny tying a knot. When Yarny gets wet, he even droops until he’s dry again. The momentum of Yarny’s swings are smooth and look natural even for a little bundle of yarn.


The game is full of puzzles, and good ones at that. They’re challenging, and really make you think. Yarny only has a particular amount of yarn in him, so you need to be careful in how you use it. While you can pick up more yarn along the journey, it’s best to use it as conservatively as possible. There is so much you can do with the yarn, from using it to pull things to tying knots to make bridges and even flying through the air on a kite! Each puzzle made me stop and deeply consider my next move. Luckily, Unravel is very forgiving and lets you undo your actions with no consequences. There are no lives either, so there’s no pressure; just puzzles.


Yarny is an incredibly emotional adventure. Each level is a framed picture in the woman’s house that Yarny travels through trying to piece together her memories. When you come across a memory in the levels, it appears, and Yarny watches it before it fades. As you piece together the memories and the journey of the woman, the nostalgia hits hard, and I found myself very sad as I watched each memory float away. When you return to the house after finishing the level, you start next to the scrapbook. If you open in again, the words suddenly appear, and the pictures are fresh so you can take the nostalgic journey alongside Yarny.


The original presentation of this game at E3 in 2015 almost instantly captured the hearts of the people watching. The director was so genuine and sincere, if a bit nervous, in presenting Yarny. He even had his own Yarny with him! As you play, you can feel the love and care that was put into the game from everyone involved. With such a beautiful story, how could you not?


Every aspect of this game has absolutely captured my heart. From the beautiful soundtrack, to the impeccable graphics, to Yarny himself, … there’s still so much of this story that I have yet to unlock. So much love and so much detail has been put into this game, and you really feel it every time you pick it up. I can’t recommend this game enough. I love every aspect of it and I’m looking forward to diving even deeper into the story!

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