Unravel: Video Game Candy for Yarn-Loving Puzzleheads
Most of the time, video games and yarn crafts are tragically incompatible hobbies. Because I like to knit and crochet a lot more than I like to play video games, the latter has more or less fallen off my radar in the last few years. But I just checked one game off my must-play list that’s all about yarn! I finally got around to playing the Unravel video game, and I’m here to evangelize a really sweet and fun game for yarn-lovers, even for those who are just so-so on video games in general.
In Unravel, you play as a totally cute little creature made out of yarn, appropriately named “Yarny.” As you move through the levels of the game, Yarny leaves a trail of yarn behind him (he’s clearly some kind of center-pull skein) that you can manipulate to solve puzzles. You can make lassos, climb up and rappel down, make yarn trampolines to launch yourself, and tie knots with your yarn tail to navigate through beautiful Scandinavian landscapes that are full of dangers and obstacles for a little guy like Yarny.
An interesting dynamic of the game is the fact that your supply of yarn is finite and must be replenished with yarn you find along the way. If you use up too much yarn before finding more, you will have to retrace your steps, re-winding your yarn body as you go, and try again. It’s a dynamic that is delightfully reminiscent of frogging in knitting or crochet.
The story itself is simple but powerful. At the start of the game, a ball of yarn falls out a woman’s workbasket and turns into Yarny. Yarny has the ability to jump inside the world of photographs throughout the house and explore her memories via the locations they’re tied to. The memories start out beautiful and sweet (a walk in the woods, an adventure at the seaside), but become darker and more complex as the game progresses.
I was hooked within the first five minutes of play. The game is stunningly beautiful, full of rich details and textures and paired with a perfectly complementary soundtrack. Yarny is adorable and fun to play with. But most important of all, the creators of the game (the Swedish company Coldwood Interactive) really seem to understand the power of yarn, both as a creative medium and as a link that ties us to our memories, our loved ones, and our true selves.
Yours in Stitches,
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