Some stories need to be told, some games need to be played, and It Takes Two is a combination of both. It was the game of the year in 2021 for a reason, and its impact is still growing as more and more people start to play it. Just when I thought the days of co-op couch play were long gone, this game became its savior. It seemed like I could no longer hand my friend a remote and play together. Instead, for many years we took turns or played online. It created a distance for many people and this game is about limiting distance and actually bringing people closer than ever before.
I will testify that this game has contributed to some of the most memorable moments in my relationship and I know people that say it has fixed theirs. The game is transcendental for communication, creativity, and the pursuit of not forgetting yourself and your collective happiness. Luckily for Nintendo Switch players, this game has now been ported, so you too can experience this gold strike of a game.
Developed by Hazelight Studios and ported by Turn Me Up Games, It Takes Two is a masterpiece of a co-op game. Hazelight Studios are no strangers to co-op-driven games with their previous installment being A Way Out, a prison break narrative with more twists than a twizzler. Having previously played this game on a console, I was excited to return to this story that will always have a place in my heart.
It Takes Two follows the story of a family going through some marital issues. Cody and his wife May are at the strings end of their marriage, and it seems like the two can’t even hold a conversation without bursting into an argument. They want to keep their looming divorce under wraps, but their daughter Rose has seen it all and falls victim to being caught in the middle.
After getting the confirmation that her parents are separating, Rose grabs two of her dolls and the “Book of Love” by Dr. Hakim, and runs down to the basement. She cries over the dolls wishing with everything that her parents could be friends again, and as her tears pour onto each doll, a spell has been cast. Cody and May wake up as the dolls and they work together to battle the odds to return home and return to who they used to be for Rose.
With such a brilliant and deep story, the gameplay actually gives you some life lessons. Think of it as Mr. Miyagi’s “Wax on, wax off” strategy. Each level, each boss, and each conversation has a goal and a purpose to bring them closer together. Working as a team is essential to this game along with communication. You have to depend on the other character and just like in a relationship, you must work together.
The gameplay is extremely diverse with levels ranging from being in space, a toy kingdom, a garden, inside a tree, a snowy land, a clock tower, and more. Sometimes you might have weapons or objects that rely on each other like two halves of a magnet. Every level is brilliant and involved, along with its own challenges, mini-games, and boss levels. The frustration of missing a timed jump or not communicating well enough forces you to shift into a certain gear, which I found to be very important, especially for personal growth.
My girlfriend, for example, would get very frustrated and impatient sometimes, especially if she missed a jump or failed a boss fight. The key for her was patience, focus, resilience, and communication. Qualities I believe extended into our real lives and were shaped by this game, without the need to force it, and just like the characters, we began to enjoy the challenge.
Unlike the console version, the Switch will of course have its minor downsides. If you don’t have a second Switch remote and you’re used to playing with two separate joy cons, you’re gonna need to give GameStop some business and get one, which is probably a good investment regardless. As for the quality of gameplay, you can tell that they sacrificed performance for picture, but it honestly isn’t too much of a deterrent.
For a Switch game, it honestly looks really good, especially for playing split-screen. The fact that one character can be stuck on a part while the other is way ahead, you can even turn around and see them in real-time far away. There’s barely any noticeable load in pop-ups and for the most part, the game ran very smoothly for a portable device. If you don’t have a friend to play with right next to you, there is also an online option.
The one downside to the Switch online play is that there is no voice chat communication, and this is a game based on communication, but that issue is easily resolved with a phone call/FaceTime. Whether you play online or next to someone, the gameplay is extremely smooth and so is your experience.
Overall, I will stand by my words in that this game is a masterpiece. Even on the Switch, it gives you the experience to sit with whoever and share a wonderful story that is challenging, heart-wrenching, adventurous, and thought-provoking. I had hoped this game would win Game of the Year and for a lot of people it was a surprise, but not for the ones that played it.
This game deserves all of the awards and all the attention, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was picked up for a movie. This story needs to be heard, and this game needs to be played. If you’re a Nintendo Switch owner then you’re in for an absolute treat.
This review was written based on a digital review copy of It Takes Two for the Nintendo Switch provided by Hazelight Studios and Electronic Arts.