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It Takes Two, Hazelight's great new co-op puzzle platformer, is out now

Sounds like it's a solid step forward from A Way Out

The next two player 'em up from Hazelight Studios is officially out now. It Takes Two puts you and your co-op pal in a split screen adventure to help potential divorcees Cody and May learn to work together again as tiny, Honey I Shrunk My Spouse versions of themselves. Better yet, it sounds like Hazelight have even successfully mediated the marriage between all the many types of character abilities they've chucked together this time around. Knowing that, I'm plenty ready to call up my usual pal to tackle this one.

After playing Hazelight's last co-op 'em up A Way Out earlier this year, I was feeling cautiously optimistic about about It Takes Two. I had a decent time with A Way Out, but its transition from stealth puzzles to car chases to third-person shooting wasn't terribly smooth. Game director Josef Fares put a lot of emphasis prior to It Takes Two's launch on how each area has you and your pal tackling some totally different set of tasks, which had me worried it would be a similarly bumpy ride. Alice Bee's It Takes Two review has some welcome reassurance on that topic.

"You and your co-op partner will get different abilities in every level, so there's a sense of anticipation when you come to a new area," she says. "The constant changes to style, ability and even camera angles-with levels referencing top down RPGs, beat 'em ups, and Mario Kart-aren't disorientating, and none of them end up feeling under-developed." She says some are more fun than others, but they've all got interesting uses for puzzle solving and do actually require cooperation from both players.

The story is a bit conventional though, apparently. Two parents learn to work together again for the sake of their kid instead of getting divorced. No big surprise there. When I played A Way Out with my co-op pal, I distinctly remember preempting one of the main character's dramatic story climax lines verbatim because it was that predictable. I'm expecting about the same out of It Takes Two, but if we get a good laugh out of it again I won't call that a huge loss. It Takes Two looks like it'll be corny and funny on purpose, at least.

With my own biggest reservations about It Takes Two set aside, I suppose I know what I'll be doing this weekend.

It Takes Two is out now on Steam and Origin for £35/€40/$40. As with their last co-op 'em up, only you or your pal needs to own the game in order to play together.

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It Takes Two

PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PC

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Lauren Morton