Its not often that I get to play and finish a new game within a month that it comes out, but Kat was really excited to play this with me. From the first trailer that was shown last year, it looked interesting and promising, but I wasn’t sure how much I would enjoy it. Not only did the game exceed my expectations, but so far it is one of my favorite games that I have played this year. Playing it couch co-op with my wife and streaming the entire game on her channel made the experience even better.
Welcome to the life of Cody and May Goodwin, a couple that is about to enter the next exciting moment of their lives; divorce! May is a hard working engineer who sends a lot of time working to provide for the family. Cody…does things I guess (I don’t remember what he does), but he spends time at home being a stay at home dad. They also have a daughter named Rose who is the only good character in this game. When the future divorcées tell their daughter that Christmas is going to be awkward this year, Rose summons the dark ones to help her parents become friends again. The devil that answers this call is The Book of Love by Dr. Hakim. Cody and May’s souls are transported into dolls that Rose made, and now the two have to co-op their way through challenges to get their bodies back and get that sweet divorce they are craving.
What I Enjoyed
The story setup is nice and the toy perspective works to the games favor. Each area that you visit is a place around the Goodwin home, but the perspectives are quickly changed to these dreamlike places that make for visually appealing levels. What was once a child’s room is now a magical kingdom where the toys live and ruled by the child’s favorite toy; or a tree that is in the middle of a war between squirrels and wasp where you have to take out a rouge operative who is imposing as the wasp’s queen. These imaginative worlds and scenarios is what kept us hooked on the game to see what crazy world and plot we would be encountering next. It is one of the highlights of the game.
The second highlight of the game is the gameplay. I am normally terrible at platforming games, and would probably rage if I kept messing something up. With the exception of one level, there were hardly any points where I felt frustrated with the gameplay. The game makes it clear that none of the stages can be done alone, and you will always need your partner’s help to clear obstacles. There are some actions that only your character can do, so no one person is left with feeling like they are doing the “difficult” job. To spice up this idea, every chapter throws a new gameplay mechanic that gives a new action to each character. In the first chapter, May is given a hammer to smash things and platform with, while Cody is given nails that he can toss to hold things in or help May get over gaps with her hammer. This feels like peak co-op gameplay since you have to rely on each other to get any progression done. When new elements are introduced, it is always fun to see how the game will incorporate each ability and how they are used together with your partner.
This doesn’t mean that you have to play nice with each other the entire game. You can always find ways to torture each other by messing up things on purpose just to get the other killed. There are also little competitive minigames that you can find throughout each level. These range from races, shooting galleries, button mashing, endurance games, skill games, etc. These are nice distractions to get any aggression out and show that there are things that the other might be better at than the other. It is the complete representation of the hard work that goes into a stable relationship. We each have things that we are good at individually, but are unable to get past roadblocks without the other’s help.
What I Didn’t Enjoy
Right of the bat, I hate Cody and May. I was interested in their characters at first and see how they would try to fix their relationship, but they argue back and forth with each other. I’m not saying that that’s not normal in any relationship, but the only times they agree with each other is when it comes to getting their bodies back so they can get the divorce. This is evident when they come to the conclusion that in order to get their bodies back, they have to come up with a way to make their daughter cry and her tears will reverse the spell. They are so narrow minded at the beginning of the game that they fail to see what horrible parents they are. There is one scene in particular that was completely upsetting that it actually made Kat cry and me looking up the number for Child Protective Services. I was onboard with the divorce after that scene.
Another thing that left a mixed taste in my mouth was the ending. After the last chapter of the game, I was sure there was going to be one last stage that showed the full potential of their teamwork, but that didn’t happen. They just share a kiss and then bam, they get their bodies back and the game is over. It definitely felt abrupt and loose ended. You don’t even get to see what happens to them at the end. I guess the developer wanted to leave it vague for you to decide what happens afterwards. If that is the case, I hope they still went with the divorce, but stayed as friends as to be there for Rose. Would that defeat the purpose of the entire plot of the game? Maybe if you see it that way, but it takes until the second half of the game for them to start relying heavily on one another to the point of remembering why they liked each other to begin with.
Also, **** that book!
I found him entertaining a little, but he creeped me out ever since he first appeared. I know he is the councilor in all of this, but he is an ass at points and believes his methods will always work. The only time I was on the divorce team was when they would argue with the book and call out his BS.
Other than that, I can’t recommend this game enough. It is one of the best co-op games that I have played in a long time, and one that Kat and I have actually finished. The game can only be played with another person, so the developers found ways to address this. Not only can you play the game either locally or online, but only one person needs a copy of the game in order to play online. That to me is a great deal for the amount of content and enjoyment you can get out of this game.
I will say that this game is highly recommended with mild replayability.
If you are looking for a co-op game that is heavy on the co-op portion of the game, then this is the title to play. The visual, gameplay, and little details are enough to keep you invested throughout the entire game. Minus achievement hunting (which is not hard to get them all as long as you are exploring) there isn’t much reasons to play after the credits roll unless you want to switch characters or speedrun the game. I can see replayability happening if you are playing it with someone different, but it is not the type of game you will be playing over and over again. It is great to experience, and I hope this post will peak your interest a bit to try it out.
Thanks for reading,