Co-op loving Josef Fares and his team at Hazelight are back with its new game It Takes Two. Like the studio’s previous game, A Way Out, It Takes Two largely splits the screen in two halves and literally requires two players to work together to navigate the world, beat baddies, and solve puzzles.
Story and background
The game’s premises may not appeal to everyone. It’s about the normal life parents Cody and May. Cody and May are headed for divorce. They’ve simply grown apart and have lost their love for one another. Caught in the middle however, is their daughter, Rose, who makes a wish that her parents can be friends again, which turns them into dolls (and the game begins).
I can’t play It Takes Two without thinking back on my own childhood. My parents have been happily married for 30+ years, but of course they had fights during my upbringing and also to the extent that I, as a child, thought they would go their separate ways. Fortunately that never happened, but I actually wish they had played this game back then, because I think it gives perspective on things in real life as well.
But don’t worry, you don’t have to be in a relationship or married to enjoy this adventure. And like Hazelight’s last game, A Way Out, you’ll get a free buddy pass so you don’t need to make your friends buy the game too if you want to play with them. While my partner and I played via couch co-op, you can also enjoy it online in case your co-op partner is a little bit farther away. It’s also good to know that PS5 owners can play the game with PS4 owners and the same goes for Xbox Series X and Xbox One players (Playstation players hoping to play with their Xbox friends will be disappointed however).
The controls are kept very simple throughout, but on a regular basis, the game is giving you new abilities or gadgets, some of which are only there for a few minutes on some levels. You’re able to run, jump, dash, and swing from ropes, but “disposable” mechanics like flight or using magnets come and go all the time. All of these varied gameplay changes feel great, and sometimes even the presentation changes to match what’s happening. I guess you can say that the game literally changes genre several times. It’s all very dynamic, but controls remain consistent, which is great.
Graphics and design
As you may have guessed, this is not a benchmark test for next gens consoles. However, the visual storytelling is of an extremely high level, with gorgeous level designs and backdrops. Mostly, the graphics are smooth as silk, It’s only in some bigger environments with particle effects, like blizzards and smoke, that the frame-rate dips a bit, but that’s really just nitpicking. Generally through the game, it’s snappy and responsive, and brought to life with great charisma, colour, animation and care.
It Takes Two really is endlessly creative. It constantly finds new ways to keep you entertained. The ‘base game’ is a 3D platformer, but levels change suddenly to become something else entirely instead. I’ve seen endless runners, hack-and-slashers, side-on platform games, and more. Even my very difficult-to-flirt partner has appreciated the adventure. She even wants to replay it (and that comes from someone who doesn’t even like Nintendo’s mustache-adorned plumber game).
This is, simply put, a must-play if you like co-op.
It Takes Two is available on PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4 and PS5. I reviewed the game on Playstation 5 with a code provided by the publisher.