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Before You Play: UNRAVEL

What’s up boys and girls, this is your GamerGirl Jessi. Welcome to Before You Play.


If you want to play a game but not sure if it’s worth playing or if you want to buy a game but you’re not sure if it’s worth your money or if you want to download it but you’re not sure if it’s worth your storage space, or if you would even like it at all. No worries, I am here for you. I will be discussing a game in separate categories from story to graphics and sound to controls, and fight system, etc.


At the end of the blog, you can therefore decide whether you want the game or not want the game. Simple. Let’s get started.


This is Before You Play "UNRAVEL"

Before You Play Unravel
Before You Play Unravel

Summary.

So what is the game about?

Is a 2D puzzle platformer game with a little bit of physics and a single thread of yarn involved. You will be playing as Yarny, our little red yarn adventurer who seeks to gather all memories of the woman who made him. While we run across the platform, we will be able to gather memory fragments that will fill in the blurred photos in our photo album.


The core mechanic of the game is to from left to right, solving puzzles, gathering memory fragments and memory bonuses until we find out token at the very end of each chapter. We have obstacles like birds, insects, rodents and yes, even crabs! And all of them are part of the fun, or the rage. The puzzles are always new and unique, and it’s quite an adventure from the perspective of a tiny creature made of yarn.


Genre.

This game is a puzzle platformer adventure with a family-friendly. atmospheric vibes to it. It’s a side scroller, a game that runs from left to right and is played in singleplayer mode only. Just like any platformer games out there, this one is very good with their music. It gives off a very emotional and heartwarming vibe to it, almost as if you really are reminiscing the memories yourself.


Story.

Is it clear who you’re playing as and what your goal is?

Yes sir it is! You are a ball of red yarn knitted together and now you are an adorable yarn-doll called Yarny. The game has no dialogue or subtitles, no direct narratives as to what the story was about. We can only call it as we see it.


According to the intro of the game, a woman of age lives in the house we are in. As she walks up the stairs, we are now able to move and jumping on the table we will see a photo album containing blurred images. These blurred images are memories. As we play the chapters of the game, we unravel the blurred memories, making them clear again.


This is based on my understanding. Since we live with granny, these photos are memories of her past. And for us to see it, we have to go through photos and gather those memories and putting them back to the photo album. Again, there is no text even if we have completed a chapter. We just see a set of photos of a certain event in granny’s life from her childhood to her teenage years and up to present.


It’s quite heartwarming actually, when I finished the game… yeah no, I will not spoil you guys. This game has a total of 12 chapters. I finished the game in 13.4 hours.


Characters.

We don’t really have much characters to discuss here. We have our main playable character, Yarny, who goes through a wild adventure, facing birds and crabs, traveling in autumn or winter, crossing toxic puddles and climbing cars, you name it! Then there are unnamed characters from granny’s memories, but other than that, we can just focus on the atmospheric way they show the life of a person as she grows.


Dialogue.

There is no dialogue for this game. No need for subtitles either because yeah, there is no talking or anything.


Objective.

This game has only 1 objective, and that is to gather the missing pieces of the front of our photo album. Each piece is inside a memory and we will find it when we reach the end of the chapter. There is no complication with the objectives, that’s as simple as it is. There are also memories hidden or located in hard-to-get places. I think there are at least 5 memories per chapter, you can count that as an achievement if you are a completionist.


Steam achievements also available mostly regarding the memories and completing chapters. There are other stuff like not dying in a chapter or entire gameplay, so you might be challenged with that one.


Pacing.

How is the pacing of the game?

It’s a casual gameplay. It takes me at least 20 to 30 minutes to play one chapter IF I am not attempting to find or get a memory that is seemingly impossible to achieve unless we figure out the trick to it and make me go ‘oh’. I am not a completionist but when I see a memory, I try to get it if I can. It takes me 40 to 50 minutes or an hour per chapter. But depends really on how fast you figure out the tricks to cross one place to another.


Ending.

The ending is satisfactory for me. We get an epilogue chapter which I really enjoyed, but I still have favorite chapters, this one just topped the rest. It’s a casual game so you can expect that the ending is nothing grand. I do not want to spoil, but if you are going to read to the next sentences of this blog, then you better be careful now.


A little bit of spoiler. The final chapter is already the ending plus the epilogue, which sums up Yarny’s adventure. We get to browse through the photo album filled with photos later on and that’s where the credits will flash as well. At the end is a photo of the game devs thanking us and Yarny just chilling.

Spoiler End.


Controls.

I am not sure if you can use a controller because I haven’t tried. But their page it says it is full controller supported, so just give it a try. I used keyboard to play it and it is nothing complicated once you get the hang of it. The only confusing parts when you start off is the throwing lasso key and the hold key. But once you get the hang of it, you are good to go.


Tutorial.

Is there a tutorial?

Yes. At the beginning of the first chapter, you are mandated to undergo the tutorial so no need to worry about missing it out. It will teach you the basics of what you need to do in a situation like this and that, so it is a pretty good and well-explained tutorial. It actually helps open your mind to the possibilities you can do with the lasso, hold, tying up and swinging.


Remember, this is a Physics platformer kind of game. Or at least it is what the game said in the page. So the puzzles are uniquely done. I enjoyed certain chapters but not all. I get it that there is a feeling of repetitiveness with the puzzles or too easy or too hard, but it’s part of the game. If they made it too easy people hate it, if they made it too hard, people still hate it. It happens.


Atmosphere & Immersion.


Environment.

Like I mentioned before, Yarny is not limited to travel locations just because he is a small fellow. The locations changes per chapter. We hiked in mountains, running through an open field or the streets, climbing and swinging through trees. The seasons also change as years pass by according to the memories.


It is a 2D platform sidescroller so you can expect that there are limited objects to interact with, depending on the location and the situation you are in. If for example you are in a forest, then you can definitely interact with trees or branches, boulders to hop on and the such. Don’t worry, it’s not that confusing. If Yarny can step on an object, it’s certain that he can pull or push it. Unless it’s something bigger than him. Depends. The music also changes every chapter, or at least every season.


The music fits perfectly with the casual gaming vibe it’s giving and if there are chase scenes then the music changes accordingly. I’d say they have done well with the music that matches with the vibe of the game. It’s not addicting to the point that you want the music, but it’s good enough to build the atmosphere. Also, I don’t think their soundtrack is downloaded anywhere.


Map.

How clear is the map to navigate to?

The path is simple, we go to the left or we go to the right, climb up or jump down. There is no way for us to get lost in this world BUT it is possible to get stuck in a garage or a car if we haven’t figured out the puzzle for that area.


Is the environment used effectively to direct the player to the goal?

I would say yes. It seems to be the main focus of the game as well. They have positioned the objects at the right place accordingly. For example, if they needed the player to move up a hill, a fence or to an elevated part of land, they will add a convenient tree nearby. Sometimes I miss out the branches that I can swing in, haha. There could also be rocks or cans or buckets in the area that is very useful to give Yarny a boost to jump up in case he can’t reach high up or has no nearby places to use his lasso. I think the devs did a pretty good job with that.


Collectibles.

Are there any collectibles in this game?

Yes. There are memories that you can find in each chapter. They are not mandatory to find to unlock new chapters or anything, but it helps makes you feel good about yourself if you were able to find one or find all of the memories.


How difficult is it to find and take the available collectibles in this game?

For me, I would say that it is highly difficult to get most of the collectibles. The easily-spotted memories are VERY DIFFICULT to reach. It’s either I sacrifice and die to get it or die multiple times to get it or spend more than forty minutes trying to figure out the trick to get it. It could be just me.


But if I am to be honest, as the chapters pass by, I lose interest to gather all of the memories. If I can, I will give it a try or more but if I noticed I am spending more time than necessary, I just give up. If you are one to like the challenge, then take the challenge and complete all of the memories!


HP.

There is no life bar in this game or a set of fruits to gather to earn a life. If you die by drowning, falling or killed by opponents, you restart back to the most recent checkpoint you found. So there is also no such things as potions to regain or restore your health.


Checkpoint.

Checkpoints are located whenever Yarny has reached pass a certain puzzle or location. Whenever you see a roll of yarn in one place, it is a checkpoint. The moment Yarny makes contact with it, he will absorb the yarn as part of him. Because as you guys can see, Yarny is running and leaving a trail of yarn behind him. So you are probably questioning if this yarn-doll is running out of yarn as he runs across the forest, the answer is yes he runs out of yarn.


The moment the yarn shows visible knots it means that it is almost the end of it and if you don’t find a checkpoint then you will run out of yarn. Obviously you don’t run out in the middle of nowhere unless you’ve made multiple knots in previous locations and you did not untie them. Then it is either you go back all the way to untie them or you try to kill Yarny to start back to the nearest checkpoint.


Difficulty.

How difficult is the game? Is the puzzles too much and impossible to solve or a piece of cake and not even challenging?

I would say it is in between. There are times that I really had a hard time trying to figure out a puzzle and then there are times that I just figure it out in a short while too. It depends on how fast I’ve absorbed the mechanics and the controls of the game. In this case, the beauty of being able to climb the yarn and tie a knot or swing and grab a knot, etc. There are certain chapters though that have almost impossibly-solved puzzles.


If you are having a tough time figuring one puzzle, just think that there is a player or two that have figured out the puzzle before you. If they can do it, so can you.


Price.

This game is not free to play. Since this is a game published by EA Electronics, you can subscribe to EA for a monthly subscription of only $4.99. Or you can buy this game for $19.99.


I don’t think it is worth the price for this game though, I bought the bundle on one of the sales so I would recommend that you wait for the sale as well. The bundle consists of both Unravel 1 and 2 for at least $6 or $7, I don’t remember. But it is somewhere between those lines. The bundle is worth $39.98 but it is currently 25% off, so now you only have to pay $29.98. I still think it is not worth the price. I would recommend to wait for a big sale or something. But I do recommend playing part 2 with a friend. Review on that soon.


Demo.

I don’t think there is a demo for this game. It is EA we are talking about. DLC. There is no DLC for this game.


Graphics.

The graphics are fine really. It is not high def while it is not also low quality. Just in the middle. The details are done well. I am not sure if this is an indie game or done by indie game developers, but surely this is a work of art.


Sound.

Like I said before, the music of this game is really good to build the atmospheric vibe that they are going for. I love the main menu sound and I already have personal favorites. It is somewhere in the Letter and Winter Sun chapters, I just always mix those two up. I don’t think any of the music is available for download online, at least not that I am aware of. There is no lyrical music in this game, just non-lyrical background music.


Fight System.

There is no fight system in the game. As a light-weighted roll of yarn, you can expect that crabs will easily put Yarny out of his misery or birds to snatch our little red bundle of yarn to their nest pretty quickly. There is no fight system here, we just need to be really good at figuring out the puzzles because most of the time we can evade them by running and hiding or being able to evade them. How? Yes, by figuring out the puzzle.


There is a round, like when there is a line of crabs on the ground, we can swing but it’s not as simple as that. We need proper timing! There is also just outrunning them rodents, the pressure is real.


Platform.

According to my research, this is available in PC, PS4 and Xbox One.


Others.


Tips.

My only tip is that you play the game if you love platformer games, otherwise you might feel bored as the chapters go by. There are times where the puzzles seem repetitive or that some of them might be too hard to the point that you may feel uninterested in a while, especially that we do not exactly have a plot here or dialogue. Everything is just simple.


Speedrun. You can speedrun the game and it is possible to do that, I know because I have done the same to at least one or two chapters.


Achievements and Collectibles.

I think I already mentioned this in objectives. I’ll just repeat it here just in case you skipped. There are also memories hidden or located in hard-to-get places. I think there are at least 5 memories per chapter, you can count that as an achievement if you are a completionist. Steam achievements also available mostly regarding the memories and completing chapters.


There are other stuff like not dying in a chapter or entire gameplay, so you might be challenged with that one.


Requirements.

This is probably one of the only reasons why I partly did not enjoy the game so much at the very beginning. You are required to download their ORIGIN software before you are able to play this game, or any of their games in general. I get it they probably want to promote their own digital distribution service but forcing people via mandating to download Origin when we gamers got the game on Steam, is just a terrible way to market the software, It’s just gonna make their games dislikeable for refer-a-friend preference.


Extra ranting here about this, most of the games that I discovered that has an online or local co-op feature that has interesting concept would be their games. That kinda tells me that they do this so their games will obviously reach double audience at once. Their game is playable with a friend, so I think that one is self-explanatory.


Bugs and glitches.

Throughout my gameplay experience, the game crashed at least 4 to 5 times. Now this one I am not sure if it is caused by my recorder or it’s just really laggy. There are times it crashes when I haven’t reached a checkpoint so I had to do it all over again. This next issue happens when I arrive to the main menu. Remember what I said about needing Origin? I still open the game through Steam and it automatically opens Origin to open the game.


So back to the issue, after the game opens the main menu freezes or is really laggy and then it’s stuck to the frozen menu. The music still plays in the background though. I had to force quit it and run again afterwards. This is just the issues I encountered, other than that, the game works pretty well. You may or may not encounter these issues, this could be just me. But I am saying it just so you are aware that you’re not alone.


Replayability.

I think it has a 7 out of 10 replayability, mostly for the sake of gathering of all memories and Steam achievements but for value of story and gameplay enjoyability, not so much.


Gameplay Preview.


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S.D. Beck
S.D. Beck
Jun 11, 2021

This was amazingly detailed. Write more please

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