“It Takes Two” – game mechanics as story-telling device

It Takes Two – Official Gameplay Trailer - YouTube
this image will take you to the trailer

Gaming is a relatively new interest of mine. I have been highly influenced by my husband who is an avid gamer. The only games I had played until we met were The Sims (1 to 3), Roller Coaster Tycoon, and Guimo (by a Brazilian publisher). I liked playing games but it faded from my identity as I grew. However, since getting together I have become more open minded and excited about games.

The first “serous”(or in gaming lingo: AAA title) game I played was Uncharted. This was the first time I had been drawn into a story, felt excited about exploring, and didn’t feel guilty about shooting at enemies. It helped that the main character, Nathan Drake, is quite charming too but the stories and animation were interesting on their own.

After that, I’ve tried many others (Journey, gone Home, Until Dawn, Animal Crossing, Mario Kart…), watched my husband play many different titles, and even invested on my own Switch. The more I participated –the 300 hours I put into Animal Crossing are there to prove, the more I noticed the animation, design, and writing of different games. This only increased my interest in gaming from an artistic perspective.

I explored games like Journey – a visual story told through color, sound, movement, setting, and game play. Gone Home – a “story exploration” game that I thought was spooky, but it was just very sad and beautiful. And most recently Genesis Noir. However, all these games are single player and my husband and I had yet to find one multiplayer game that really took us on a story-based adventure.

Most co-op/multiplayer games are high-intensity shooters (COD, Fortnite, or Apex) which aren’t really my vibe, yet. So finding something that could bring both our worlds together was our goal. As a whole, gaming has saved us in this pandemic. We play with friends often, which has helped ease the isolation, but sometimes we want to embark on journeys of our own.

That’s when It Takes Two launched.

Co-op, split screen, colorful, and “50% off.” You only need to buy ONE COPY to play with someone else. This was also a huge incentive, given that it gets expensive having to buy two copies of games that we want to play together. So, of course, we couldn’t pass up this opportunity!

From the beginning, this game was intriguing, emotional, and magical.

It is the story of parents that decided to share their decision to divorce with they daughter who, in-turn, ends up enchanting them and transforming them into dolls. In this new shape, they have to work together to get back to normal. They do all this with the help of “Dr. Hakim” – a self-help book about love.

It Takes Two review | Rock Paper Shotgun

The story is then divided into chapters where each presents a new setting, new abilities, and new goals. This is where this game shines!

Each chapter and each of the mini-games are based on traditional gaming concepts and techniques. The developers play around with throwing the gamer into side-scroller platformers, shooters, wall climbing, sliding/running away, swinging from hooks, and surfing on tracks. Each time, the actions you take further develop the story or just allow you to have the best of time in these intricate cities built in this couple’s normal-sized house.

I don’t want to spoil anything, so I will stick to visual/game play impressions.

The animation and character style chosen for this game work so well. It teeters between the real and the imaginative. It is as though you are entering a child’s imagination. The color palettes, the soundscape, the controls… all of the most minute details seem to have been thought out and well planned. Nothing seemed careless or unnecessary.

A Way Out dev's next game is "emotional" co-op action adventure platformer It  Takes Two • Eurogamer.net

In a world where we have 924875356 versions of FIFA with recycled animations/assets, a game like It Takes Too comes to say that there are many developers who love this art form and that are able to tell intricate stories through every facet of it.

I was missing a game like this in my life and I am very happy that I played it with my husband. We have definitely learned to work better together after it.

Give it a try too and let me know what you think!

Published by Vitoria, no C

Instructional Assistant Professor at Illinois State University BFA in Graphic Design and New Art Media from the University of North Dakota MFA in Graphic Design from Iowa State University

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