A Review of 2021’s Game of the Year: It Takes Two 


Adam Kaplan '23, Contributor

Making a co-op video game is an incredibly dangerous endeavor. Keeping the interest of two people for a lengthy period of time is hard, and therefore, these types of games don’t tend to be very profitable. But is the development of one worth it? Well, when you have a game as well crafted as It Takes Two, it certainly is. 

First off, this is a 3D platformer, one of the most accessible genres, perfectly fitted for a co-op experience. Not only that, but it’s a good 3D platformer. The playable characters move so nimbly, and it’s so exciting to control them. Their movesets aren’t anything special, but they work really well to deliver a fine tuned experience in conjunction with the level design. Each level features tight and precise, yet highly accessible platforming, alongside clever combat and puzzle solving mechanics. My favorite level has to be “Gates of Time”, because it ingeniously uses mechanics revolving around cloning and experimenting with time, to accent a beautiful, self-contained world. 

This is a platforming video game, but it isn’t afraid to delve into other territories and genres. The gimmicks that take away from the platforming experience pan out really well. The dungeon crawler segment is surprisingly well made, and the more gimmicky boss fights are actually very well put together. You also have these mini-games scattered throughout the levels, which are a ton of fun on their own. There are some ideas like the kaleidoscope segment and the labyrinth toy that don’t work out too well, but those are few and far between. What I’m trying to say is that even with all of the gimmicks, this is a very consistent platformer that nails both movement and level design. 

It Takes Two is strictly a co-op experience, and it really couldn’t be anything else. Communicating with your partner to solve puzzles is absolutely necessary to beat this game. The title is actually a theme reflected many times throughout the game itself, both in storytelling and gameplay. In one level, one player has to put down nails, while the other uses a hammer. In another, each person is given one side of a magnet. Both players support each other throughout the game, meaning this is an experience that can only be had with a friend, and the game has good reason for being developed that way. 

On a storytelling front, It Takes Two does tend to fumble. Cutscenes feature a ton of expository dialogue, and it’s kind of unfortunate to see so much interesting symbolism just being explained through the method of ‘tell not show’. Even despite the overly descriptive dialogue, the story itself is charming, and that’s all you really need for this type of game. Overall, the combination of really exciting level design that forces you to communicate with a friend, and gimmicks that are mostly well executed makes It Takes Two a co-op experience for the ages.