Unravel is an adorable, physics-based puzzle platformer from Swedish developer Coldwood Interactive.
In it, you play as a small creature made from yarn called, appropriately enough, Yarny. A yarn string, which trails endlessly behind Yarny, can be affixed to certain points in the environment, allowing you to jump higher, cross gaps, affix yourself to a floating kite, and more.
A sequel titled Unravel Two was announced at E3 2018 on June 9, 2018... and then released the same day. Unravel Two is a two-player game that follows a pair of Yarnys, one red and one blue. The red Yarny is shipwrecked on an island and finds his yarn has been cut short during the crash; he then finds the blue Yarny in a similar condition, and the two join their cut ends together. The game then follows the two conjoined figures as they case after a small spark released when they bonded, and requires them to cooperate with one another to cross difficult obstacles and gaps that they can't manage alone.
- An Aesop: The entire game can be considered one for coming to terms with the death of a loved one, but "pollution is bad" is also the main theme of a couple of levels in a construction site.
- Androcles' Lion: Yarny helps a magpie trapped by a collapsed fence. In return, the magpie carries him to one of the scrapbook pieces.
- Badass Adorable:
- Yarny is quite the adventurous little yarn thing.
- The deadly lemming deserves a mention. While it can brutally rip and beat you to death in a blink of an eye, there's something adorable about the way it coughs, sneezes and chokes on mushroom spores.
- Building Swing: One of Yarny's most important methods for getting around is to throw its yarn at hooks/branches/what-have-you to swing from one place to another.
- Creepy Cockroach: Roaches infest the abandoned offices in "How much is enough?" They nest among the shredded documents and will swarm and kill Yarny. Fortunately, they scatter when Yarny shines a bright light on them.
- Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: If you die, no matter if you drown, get beaten by an angry crab, ran over by a log or dissolve in acid, you respawn at the nearest yarnball. And they're not exactly far apart.
- Disney Death: Yarny, who accidentally unravels himself while trying to collect the last piece of the scrapbook. He's rescued by a visitor.
- Feathered Fiend: With the exception of the magpie mentioned in the Androcles' Lion example, birds are often out to get Yarny.
- A raven makes off with a scrapbook piece at the end of "Down a Hole" and Yarny has to steal it back at the end of "How much is enough."
- Ravens infesting the fields of "The letter" will divebomb and carry off Yarny unless he hides behind cover.
- In the sequel, a wood grouse is a threat to the Yarny pair.
- Fun Size: Yarny, of course. He's about the size of an apple.
- Giant Enemy Crab: Mundane crabs are this when you're a tiny woolen creature.
- Hollywood Acid: Averted. While the acidic substance Yarny encounters is the usual bright glowy green, part of the puzzle challenge is that many things actually do not dissolve in it immediately. One particular level is pretty much all about finding enough plastic bottles and other materials to safely traverse the pools.
- Hub Level: All levels in the first game are accessed through picture frames in the old lady's house, while the ones in the second are accessed through glowing portals in the abandoned lighthouse.
- Instant Knots: When Yarny throws a length of string it automatically attaches to branches and ledges.
- Jump Scare: Only one, but very effective. At the very beginning of "Down in a Hole," a car suddenly comes thundering down the road that Yarny is crossing and goes right over him, causing Yarny (and probably the player) to jump in fright and cower.
- Kite Riding: Yarny hitches a ride on a kite during one of the levels.
- The Many Deaths of You: There are so very, very many ways Yarny can die, and they're just as lovingly illustrated as the rest of the game.
- Mouse World: Yarny isn't exactly very big; a single angry lemming is a deadly threat to him.
- Mundane Made Awesome: The whole point of the game is to show you a mundane world through an enchanting change of perspective.
- Le Parkour: The Yarny pair are a lot more agile than the original Yarny, being able to jump higher and greater distances, including between walls, and their yarn swing also has greater power, with them even being easily able to do a circle.
- Pike Peril: In Two, a pike chases the Yarny duo when they are required to cross a lake.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Yarny pair in the sequel consists of one red and one blue. In some cutscenes, the red one is shown to be more outgoing, while the blue one is more timid.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: Yarny, who resembles a little kitten-like creature made of red string.
- Rule of Symbolism: The entirety of "The Last Leaf". A fierce blizzard threatens to blow Yarny away, and its only anchor from being blown is a warm, bright lantern it drags in tow. It's all that keeps Yarny from being blown away by the cruel, cold gusts of wind. Ultimately, however, Yarny has to leave behind the lantern and must trek the snowy landscape alone. If anything, this represents the old woman's grieving process over her late husband, as the memories do bring her comfort, but she must ultimately let go of the past in order to move on.
- Scenery Gorn: The few levels taking place in a desolate former mining site, with dangerous chemicals spewn around and old machinery left to rot. The fact that a simple storage shack is looming over you like a skyscraper is helping, too.
- Scenery Porn: The background art for this game sure is gorgeous, from seashores to forests to snowy fields.
- Seldom-Seen Species: The angry lemming encountered in Mountain Trek. The sequel has a sequence where a wood grouse hunts down the Yarny pair.
- Silence Is Golden: The story is told without words.
- Snow Means Death: Defied. The two snow levels that come after the toxic spill are intentionally upbeat, jolly and optimistic, with playful achievements for obssessively breaking ice sheets and knocking snowpillows off branches. They serve to cheer you up after a particularly depressing part of the game.Later played straight with the penultimate level of the game, which has Yarny fighting a deadly blizzard, forcing himself through deep snow, to recover the final scrapbook piece. It takes place at a cemetery.
- Super Drowning Skills: Yarny can be submerged for a couple of seconds, but that's about it. Justified, considering how abhorrently heavy wool gets when it soaks in enough water. Averted in the sequel, where the Yarny pair can swim.
- Wall Jump: The Yarny pair can jump between high walls to get on top of them.
- Wham Shot: In "Rust", unless one is paying attention to the memory of the ambulance, the ending of this chapter comes across as this when Yarny finds what looks to be a yarn heart in the snow. ...and instead, pulls out half of one.