It Takes Two | Relationships are the biggest adventure
It Takes Two | Relationships are the biggest adventure

It Takes Two | Relationships are the biggest adventure

Posted on 25 March, 2024

Game designer

Art Director

Claes Engdal
More Info

Lead Composer

Gustaf Grefberg, Kristofer Eng

Publishing Year

Type of game



It Takes Two is a story of love and reconciliation with more than a touch of magic, all in the form of a 3D platformer. Developed by Hazelight Studios, it was published by Electronic Arts in March 2021 – a time when the global pandemic had kept many people apart, and thus the perfect moment for a cooperative video game. A title friendly both to veteran and new players alike, but the key to its success lies elsewhere. It shows one of the most impressive assortment of gameplay systems to date. Combined with an immersive comedy story, it sold over 10 million copies in two years alone.

A love comedy pushing the limits of co-op

May and Cody are a couple on the brink of divorce, who no longer appreciate one another. Heartbroken at the news, their daughter Rose wishes upon the self-help Book of Love for them to get along once again. However, the girl ignores the power of that wish, nor what shedding tears on her two dolls will cause. Thus, Mary and Cody suddenly find themselves transformed into the wood and clay playthings. There is only one way to return to their normal selves: to work together to break the spell. This marks the beginning of an incredible adventure to save not only the situation but their marriage too.

It Takes Two
Image courtesy of Hazelight Studios © 2021

Many video games embrace a shift in perspective to magnify the player’s experience. In Shadow of the Colossus the sheer size of the titans makes the Wander’s efforts to beat them feel all the more gargantuan. Meanwhile, in It Takes Two it is the protagonists who become tiny and must face a world so much bigger than them. Not only that, even the mundane settings around them reveal a fantastic side once experienced from a new point of view. In their journey from the shed to the attic, the protagonists will encounter all manners of incredible things. From talking animals to sentient objects worthy of a Lewis Carroll novel, even a simple pillowfort will hold countless wonders. A whole world to discover with a kaleidoscopic design and a gameplay that changes with each of its nine levels.

It Takes Two stands out as an ever-changing game

As its title suggests, It Takes Two is made to be played with another person – whether local or online. Hazelight Studio sought to optimize every aspect in light of this choice, to make its gameplay as enjoyable as possible. Starting from its split screen, which sets it apart from other co-op video games such as Unravel Two or Cuphead. It gives the players autonomy of movement as well as freedom to explore while still keeping an eye on one another. The base commands of jump and dash are also intuitive, and paired with smooth camera movements ensure responsive gameplay. However, it is the character-specific abilities that elevate this title to an innovative kind of puzzle game.

It Takes Two
Image courtesy of Hazelight Studios © 2021

Each level offers a new set of tools, often connected to the main theme of the area. For example, when inside the cuckoo clock Cody will be able to alter time, while May can teleport. Thanks to their powers players will be able to alter their surroundings, solve puzzles, and move forward in their adventure. And just like its protagonists, these abilities work best when combined. When infiltrating the hive, May will be able to ignite the sap fired by Cody – a lethal combination in the boss battle against the wasps. This constant element of change keeps the interest high through all 12 hours of the game, providing new challenges and dynamics to explore.

Facing epic challenges in a miniature world

During the development of It Takes Two, designer Josef Fares pushed to include as many mechanics and settings as possible. This choice ensured that the game would never feel stale, but also extended this variety to the design as well. Going into a 3D platformer the player might expect the classic formula that the Super Mario saga perfected. Only to be then faced with Tekken-style combat on a plane and DnD-inspired dungeon crawling inside a toy castle. This game is a wild assortment of scenarios that blend cohesively without ever feeling repetitive or overwhelming. A testament to the designers’ commitment, which can be appreciated through the care put into each little detail.

It Takes Two
Image courtesy of Hazelight Studios © 2021

Contrary to rogue-like games such as Hades, where every mistake could mean starting all over, It Takes Two rewards curiosity. Not only does it grant infinite lives, but it is full of interactions that encourage exploration just for the fun of it. For instance, numerous mini-games are present in each level – whack-a-mole, rodeo, slot cars and tug of war to name a few. But there are also idle areas where the players can enjoy a break. Such is the case for the food stands in the snow globe or the bug spa in the garden. None of these small additions serve a strict purpose in the story, but they enhance the enjoyment tenfold. 

In conclusion, It Takes Two gained its place in the players’ collective memory thanks to its ability to renovate itself. By pushing the limits of the co-op – both in terms of design and mechanics – it crafted an immersive experience that is truly best appreciated in the company. Thanks to it it won multiple awards, among which Game of the Year and Best Multiplayer Game in 2021.


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