Embark on the craziest journey of your life in It Takes Two. Invite a friend to join for free with Friend’s Pass and work together across a huge variety of gleefully disruptive gameplay challenges.
Reviewed on: PS5
Also available for: PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC
Cast: Joseph Balderrama, Annabelle Dowler, Clare Corbett, Stephen Greif, Martin T. Sherman, Oskar Wolontis, Susan Brown, Grahame Fox, Rachel Atkins, Gordon Cooper, Glenn Wrage, Victoria Willing, Edward Dogliani, Alexandra Ekelof, Lizzie Waterworth Santo, Louiza Patikas
Developer: Hazelight Studios
Director: Josef Fares
Writers: Soni Jorgensen, Josef Fares
Studio Manager: Oskar Wolontis
Producer: Aimar Bergan
Art Director: Claes Engdahl
Hazelight Studios follow up to the surprising and shocking A Way Out is another mandatory co-op game, with some rather insane levels and gameplay mechanics for you to discover with a partner. The story and characters aren’t anywhere near as interesting as the world, but that’s perfectly okay when you’re having as much fun as you will playing It Takes Two.
The story follows Cody and May, a married couple that has just decided to separate and get a divorce. Their daughter, Rose, hears this news in the game’s opening minutes and, through some unexplained magic, ends up sending her parents into two dolls the daughter had made of them. Now trapped inside these small wooden and clay bodies, they must work together to find a way to Rose and escape back to their human bodies.
You and your partner will pick who wants to be Cody or May, and there are distinct differences between the two as you progress through the game. In the opening level inside The Shed, for example, Cody gets a magical nail he can control like Yondu out of Guardians of the Galaxy; and May gets a hammer that she can use to break things or swing off said nails. This leads each player down separate paths for brief periods, ultimately having to work together to progress.
One of the earliest examples of clear communication between players being necessary is when Cody needs to nail platforms to keep them up as May climbs. However, you’ll need to time May’s jumps with Cody recalling nails to activate another platform as she climbs upwards.
The significant benefit of creating a game that requires a real-world co-op partner (online or local) is that you can design moments like these that need good communication to pull them off. It makes for a better game and leads to more challenging and rewarding puzzles and set pieces.
Cody and May’s journey is broken up into seven core chapters, each with several levels inside. Each of these chapters occurs in an area that’s nothing like the last, which introduces gameplay mechanics utterly different from what you were doing previously. I obviously don’t want to spoil things, but you go from The Shed using nails and a hammer to the Garden, to a third-person shooter at another point.
Each chapter steps things up a notch as the game becomes more and more fantastical. Honestly, a lot of it didn’t make any sense at all and had me laughing about the game’s logic, but you’re never going to care as the game is just so much fun. It Takes Two is a developer’s product, just throwing all the ideas they have into a game. Each chapter feels unique and brimming with ideas. It’s too early to say for sure, but I’d be surprised if there’s another game this year that has just as many wild and wacky ideas in one game.
Unlike A Way Out, this isn’t an easy afternoon journey either; the game is 12-14 hours long. Ashley and I smashed it out over two days, but you definitely could stretch this out one night a week for a couple of hours for others who want to take a more relaxed approach. There are reasons to replay and playing as the opposite character to your first playthrough will give you all the tools and gameplay moments you missed out on the first time.
Player 2, Ashley Hobley Says:
It Takes Two is one of the most creative and hilariously absurd games I’ve had the pleasure of playing. A seemingly never-ending collection of different gameplay types and formats made it easy to drops several hours into it at a time.
While there are story moments that are funny, weird, dark, and memorable, the plot of the game doesn’t quite come together and ends on an unsatisfying note. None of the characters are very likeable and I suspect that Hazelight hoped that you playing as them would endear them to you but it doesn’t really work.
It Takes Two is a must-play for any couple or pair of friends but I can’t help but wish the story had been as great as the gameplay.
With gameplay as strong as it is in It Takes Two, it’s unfortunate that the story and characters don’t meet expectations at all. I couldn’t have forced myself to like Cody, May, or Rose if I’d tried harder — and believe me, I wanted to be into these characters. There are some funny one-liners between Cody and May, but for the most part, I couldn’t vibe with their decision making at all.
There are some loveable side characters you’ll meet throughout your journey, but the true third-wheel of your journey is a ‘love doctor’ book that’s grown its own utterly annoying personality. I hated this character. The book was nothing but annoying, and not in a ha-ha self-aware way either; it was grating, making me want to skip cutscenes way.