After the rough start last time, I’m 100% sure It Takes Two is the best coop game I’ve ever played (sorry Contra). The story is still a bit lame, but the gameplay is outstanding. Gameplay is simple, but complex when it comes to the coordination required. My wife even sat in on the play session to watch and mostly laugh at us.
Picking up with Nail and Hammer Coop
Last time, we started playing around with the hammerhead and nail toolset. The fun continued with us coordinating my nail throws with my son swinging on the nails with is hammerhead. Some of the puzzles required a well placed nail to fasten platforms and doors in place. Meanwhile, my son flipped some switches by whacking them with his hammerhead.
Our fun soon turned to a bit of frustration when we battled an animated tool box. On the path to that fight, we dodged nails falling from the sky. They nailed us a few times. That foreshadowed some of the frustration ahead. The game mostly does a great job mixing up the deaths with more laughter than frustration, though.
The true frustration in our fight came from the ever shrinking wood platform we stood on. We made a lot of mistakes with jumping and dashing avoiding the many tools the toolbox threw our way.
Those tools included:
- An arm made with a leveler.
- Nails from the sky.
- A trowel that spun around to decapitate us.
- Door hole saw to cut into our platform.
- Saw blade to cut chunks into our platform.
Dodging all of those led to many deaths. It was not until we stopped jumping and dashing around like crazy did we defeat the thing. The smaller subtle movement kept us on the platform and away from the tools. My thrown nails pinned the toolbox’s arm, while my son broke the toolbox lock.
Fighting Through the Frustration
Towards the end, we switched attack roles and my son used his hammer to launch me into the air. From their I shot nails at the spray can in the box. It took a few repetitions of that, but we finally defeated that damned toolbox with a bang.
The toolbox was the most annoying boss of our play session due to the shrinking platform. We were happy to be past that part, but It Takes Two kept things from becoming too frustrating at anytime. If one of us died, the other only needed to survive long enough for the respawn countdown in order to avoid starting over from the checkpoint.
With the tools freed from the box and the hammerhead getting it’s body back, we were off to the other side of the shed. We spent fun times sliding on copper pipes and wires, while dodging electrical currents and valves. It was a nice fun change after the frustrating boss fight.
From there, it was off to the big tree outside.
Tree Full of Bees and Squirrels
The tree was too far too jump to until the annoying Book of Love showed up. He added story and prompted eye rolls from us. His gift for annoying us was lasso-like ropes for the both of us. We used those ropes to swing around the limbs of the tree.
Breaks in between gave us views of carpenter ants as we ran up the tree. We bounced on tree mushrooms for a little extra fun. All the variation is great fun. We went from platforming puzzles to sliding around, then swinging and bouncing.
We were captured towards the top of the tree by soldier squirrels. Another long bit of cutscene ran us through an interrogation and plan to go to war with bees. Before teasing us with a glimpse of a underpants airplane we would no doubt use later, the squirrels gave us the next set of coop tools.
I took control of the nectar gun to shoot explosive and sticky liquid a fair distance. My son controlled the match launcher to light the nectar. Those tool setup a fantastic level. We enjoyed the shooting coop of one player coating things with the nectar, then the other lighting it all up with the match gun.
Several puzzles also required using the nectar gun to weigh down platforms temporarily. My son shot matches at targets to spin items or activate switches. These simple game mechanic provided momentarily challenges that added another level of fun to the explosions.
It Takes Two Coop Distractions to Mix Things Up
As with several of It Takes Two levels, there was a small distraction activity not associated with the story. In this case, it was a torture chamber. It appeared the squirrels used that to torture/kill wasps. It was a bit funny watching my son experiment with several deadly traps like lighting, fire, sharp objects, etc.. All while I helplessly watched my character die over and over.
We later ran into other coop distractions like:
- Deadly tug of war where the loser falls into a pit
- A photo booth with different squirrel and wasp scenes in front of a polaroid camera.
- Plunger shooting gallery where we shot targets towards each other.
Back to the It Takes Two Coop Action
Beyond the puzzles, we were forced to use the nectar gun/match combo to weigh down bees and larva before blowing them up. One mini boss, the shield wasp, required us to distract him before we shot at it’s tail end. Nectar did not stick to the shield in the front, so it took some coordination between the two of us.
That annoying thing lunged at us with a buzz saw staff while carrying that shield. Sort of like a flying jouster. We were in awe of the giant hive that foreshadowed a boss fight. We also ran into Mortar Wasps that shot green goo at us. It wasn’t long before we also fought swarms of wasps. Pretty good variety in enemy types.
Those later swarms often took shapes of hammers or knives. We fought those on flat ground and while sliding down shoots in the tree. That latter part was like a race against time to blow holes through the swarms before we slid past.
At the end of the tunnels, there was a weird bit of flying on the back of translucent catfish with wings through colorful tunnels. It was was an odd tangent, but a nice break from the fighting. Turns out, that was all the break we got before fighting a giant beetle.
Fighting the Giant Beetle
Nectar did not stick to it and we finally figured out the nectar stuck to grates on the ground. Luring the beetle to those gave us the weapons we needed to defeat it. It was just a matter of avoiding it’s rush attacks before lighting up those grates.
That beetle was a mercenary working for the wasp queen and agreed to help us get to the queen in exchange for all the nectar. The game switched genre again at this point. This time it was a weird combat racing game. I controlled turning the beetle and jumping, while my son aimed and shot at obstacles. It was a fun change of pace.
That bit of racing led us to the real boss fight against the Wasp Queen.
Defeating the It Takes Two Wasp Queen
The queen was obviously some type of robot. Swarms of wasps protected her by shielding its body from our hits and forming tools of death (hammers, scissors, etc). Different points on that robot wasp were covered with band aides. Those were our targets for the nectar/match hits.
A rail ran behind the wasp and gave us access for back shots. It was challenging and fun without reaching frustration level. Each panel we knocked off the wasp queen sent the swarm into a frenzy, but we defeated it without too many retries.
The surprise was the wasp robot queen was actually controlled by a bumble bee. We took pity on the bee and it returned the favor by flying us out of hive before then nectar exploded.
From Squirrel Dogfighting to Actual Fighting
Returning to the squirrels was not the homecoming we expected. They had us running for our lives, shooting at us and the bee. The bee gleefully flew away, abandoning us. Queue that underpants airplane we saw earlier. What a weird plane it was.
The body of the plane consisted of a soda bottle. Propeller came from a pin wheel. A gas canister for campsite cooking was strapped to the bottom for propulsion. The wings were a combination of boxer shorts and clothes pins. My sun sat atop a sardine can with some makeshift turret guns.
I flew the plane, while my son shot at obstacles. The obstacles were easy, but we were soon joined in the skies by squirrel gliders. They shot at us and we shot back. The boost option helped me evade those shots. Our turret was eventually destroyed by the Chief squirrel who jumped atop our plane.
Street Fighter Atop Underpants Plane
The game genre skipped again with my son and the chief squirrel duking it out on the wings, Street Fighter style. I was still flying the plane while they were fighting. I love the variety. The squirrel shot fire balls and used lighting powers in the fight like popular fighting games. That setting was even complete with the fighting game health bars.
My son easily defeated the squirrel, but our plane fell apart. We found ourselves hanging onto metal bars that held the boxers together like a hang glider. To steer, we both shimmied to the left or right on the metal bar to tilt our hang glider. It was a great switch up as we glided threw a sewer tunnel.
We did finally crash into the daughter’s window at the main house to end that level. As soon as we saw the annoying Book of Love character, we decided to end there. The coop gameplay this time around was even better than last time. Although the annoying book prompted us to quit this time, we are looking forward to playing again.
Our playtime cemented my thought that It Takes Two is the best coop game I’ve ever played.