Thursday, January 18, 2018

Deanna Plays: Unravel & Music As A Character

Deanna Plays is a monthly feature on this blog where every third Thursday of the month I talk about something related to video games. Sometimes these are reviews of the games themselves, sometimes it's a list of books to read if you play X, and anything in between!

This month I am talking about a fun little game called Unravel. To be completely honest, I only played this game because it was $6 on the Xbox Store. I also don't play a lot of side-scroller puzzle games so I thought it was a good enough reason to try it. Also it had some pretty decent reviews! 

This game is super frustrating to play because you have to puzzle out some really creative ways on how to get from Point A to Point B. I have to admit I looked up how to do certain parts so many times, because I just couldn't figure it out! This game is a CHALLENGE! So if you like a good puzzler, I would recommend this one. I don't play a lot of side scrollers, and even though this one was so frustrating at times for me, I kept wanting to come back to it. I just HAD to beat it.

There are a couple reasons why this game really captured my attention. The graphics in this game are amazing! I was sucked into this little Swedish countryside from the first level. Another reason I liked this game was the story it tells. In the story you are this little yarn creature some old woman created and you live in her house, but then you decide to just go on adventures outside. Along the way you learn more about the woman and her family through finding "secrets" and revealing memories through each level. I thought it was a really interesting way to tell a story.I especially liked that as you go through the levels certain things in the house started to change. 

There is absolutely no dialogue in this game whatsoever. Yarny learns most of the stuff from reading in the photo album after each level or from revealing memories which are silent images. Instead of any dialogue there are a lot of sounds of the ecosystem (birds cawing, machinery in the garage, the waves coming in with the tide, etc), but there also is some really lovely music. The music in this game is all inspired by Swedish folk music and you can hear a lot of that especially in Chapter 4: The Mountain Trek. There are a lot of fiddles, and it is awesome! I would argue that the music can act as another character in this story. For example in The Mountain Trek level you are chased by an animal and the fiddle tempo rises to entice danger. It's also a super stressful part of the game, and I think the music has a really huge part in it. I think the music in this particular chapter was the best, there are some really cool practical effects in this chapter too.   

There are other chapters that I felt just lulled me to peace, and it just made me feel so relaxed (something that is very hard for me) while I was playing this game. It is 100% because of the music that was used in those chapters. I really believe that the music makes this game, and it DOES act as a secondary character pushing along the story. The music was so beautiful, that I don't know if I would have been so enthralled by this game had it not been such a huge part of it. I might just go buy the soundtrack, I loved it so much!

The game's official YouTube page even put a video out to discuss how music tells a story. I think it's really cool, so I'm embedding that into this post to share it:

This game was published by EA, but it was developed by a small company in Sweden called Coldwood. You can really see the love and care they put into this game. There was talk in 2016 of a sequel, but I think IF we ever get it, it will not be for a long time. I would totally be okay with that though, because this game was amazing and I can't imagine how many hours and years it took to make this one! It was amazing, I loved it!

Have you played Unravel? What did you think?

Happy Reads Everyone!