Unravel First Look – Strung Along - Prima Games

Unravel First Look – Strung Along

by Prima Games Staff

It’s amazing how well received indie games have been. Titles like Shovel Knight, Quiplash and Rocket League managed to thrive without multi-million dollar ad campaigns, mainly due to the entertainment each one has to offer. Chances are EA’s Unravel will do the same when it arrives next year, combining the aesthetic of a charming platformer with puzzle solving.

The game puts you in control of a red cat-like creature named Yarny who’s made entirely of string. He’s the focal point of the story, which has to do with a lonely old woman trying to reconnect with family. Along the way, Yarny will overcome a series of challenges as he attempts to help her.

Unravel combines platforming and puzzle-solving as you traverse through a series of peaceful yet trouble-filled worlds, using pieces of string on both the front and back and Yarny to get ahead. For example, there are situations that will call for the string to be used like a rope, allowing him to swing across wide gaps to safety. In addition, the string can also be used to rappel down the side of tall structures, or climb up to new ones if they’re outside of his range.

However, the string goes a little deeper than that. You’ll occasionally have to use it to solve something in a puzzle you might have missed, using string tied to some surface. All the yarn attaches throughout a level, and it’s only finished once the beginning and end have been tied together.

There are also objects in the environment you’ll need to manipulate, sometimes using your string so you can keep them balanced. This includes pushing heavy items, which in turn sets up a tighter yarn string. Not only can you use this as a temporary bridge (in case a surface is too large to swing across), but also as a potential slingshot or even a kite string, so he can use wind pressure to reach a greater height.

Occasionally, enemies will need to be avoided as well. These come in the form of real creatures that may cause Yarny harm if he gets caught, including birds, which you can see in the trailer below. It helps to hide behind items like a shovel and stay out of their clutches.

Yarny’s string eventually runs out, so you’ll need to look for balls of yarn to replenish his supply. Once it’s gone, he won’t be able to progress, so it helps to keep a good supply on hand so he can continue on his way.

The level design for Unravel, based on the demo we saw, is quite intricate, and sometimes you’ll have to do some deep thinking in order to figure your way through, whether it’s creating a temporary yarn solution, or back-tracking to find an item that will help you. It’s rarely impossible, though, and the sheer accomplishment of solving a puzzle and moving on to the next one will be enough to keep players going.

In short, Unravel doesn’t look like most of EA’s usual games, but that’s a good thing, as it shows the publisher is willing to take a chance on a new property – and a refreshing one that caters back to the good old days of side-scrolling platformers and puzzle games. We’ll see how it all ties together when the game releases in 2016.

 

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