It Takes Two was pretty much exactly the kind of game we needed last year. A heartwarming adventure for two players, an endlessly inventive mishmash of gameplay ideas adapted for co-op, and the larger than life character of Dr. Hakim’s Book of Love. It’s no wonder that it had plenty of Game of the Year nominations and wins, and it’s also no wonder that it’s now making the jump to the most co-op console of them all – the Nintendo Switch.
Struggling through an increasingly loveless marriage, Cody and May are given a crash course of marriage counselling when their daughter makes a magical wish to Dr. Hakim’s Book of Love. It rips their consciousness out of their human bodies and transplants them into diminutive dolls, leaving them at the mercy of a now-personified book. They’ll have to learn to work together again, rediscover their connection and hopefully find their love for one another once more.
Hazelight’s game leaps from one genre to another as you play in tandem. The fundamentals are those of a 3D platformer, but it quickly introduces new mechanics that give different abilities to different characters. At one point Cody can throw nails, while May has a hammer, navigating an abandoned workshop through adjacent paths. Later there’s fighting through a wasps nest with one having a gloop gun and the other being able to explode the gloop. Each chapter and each world is filled with an inventiveness that’s a joy to discover.
Further Reading: It Takes Two Review
My first inclination was to check the game out in tabletop mode – after all, this was one of the key selling points of the Switch’s hybrid approach to gaming. It’s been a while since I’ve played a game like this, and with the larger screen of the Switch OLED, it’s just about doable, though I was craning my neck to get closer to the screen and pick out what I was meant to be doing.
It Takes Two has a pretty dynamic camera view at times, zooming out to show a wider context of the game world, sending you through pipes and across rails, and later areas have a much grander open world feel. When you only have one half of the screen for yourself, that can make your character really quite small at times, and adds to some of the difficulty through the 3D platforming and certain moments of action.
Playing on the Switch itself helps to lessen the impact of some of the compromises that Turn Me Up Games made when porting the game to the console, but the typical tradeoffs in visual quality are still there. Resolution is reduced, there’s less texture filtering, and all the other suspects that are often found in a Switch port. The good news is that the game’s art style still holds up very well – Cody looking a bit more clay-like is actually perfect! – and the performance feels good based on what we’ve played. Of course, the frame rate target is now just 30fps instead of 60fps on other consoles.
The main hurdle that you might encounter is making sure you have enough controllers with which to play. You can’t jump into this with a single Joy-Con per person, as you need full control of your character’s 3D camera, so you either need a second pair of Joy-Con, a Pro Controller or a third-party option to hop in when playing on a single console. That’s fine when you’re at home and playing on a TV, but it adds a potentially unexpected barrier if you’re out and about with your Switch and want to play It Takes Two.
But there are other options. Just as with the original release, It Takes Two on Switch supports the Friend’s Pass, allowing one person to buy one copy of the game and then invite another player to join them using a second console… for free! This works with both online play and local wireless play; you just need to have downloaded the Friend’s Pass version of the game in order to join a full copy of the game. In a nice touch, you can get a trial of the game via the Friend’s Pass edition, letting you play the first chapter of the game for free.
We checked out the online option, and yup, it’s as solid as you’d have hoped. The Switch is pretty notorious for not having the best WiFi connectivity for competitive games, but this is a simple co-op game where you don’t need the lowest of the low latencies to succeed – well, outside of the head-to-head minigames. This was plenty solid for an enjoyable time.
However, the Switch doesn’t have voice chat built in, and It Takes Two hasn’t got its own voice chat system on Switch. This means online players have the added fuss of setting up their own voice call, and there’s no audio mixing unless you’re doing this with a pricier headset.
It Takes Two on Nintendo Switch is a welcome and solid port of a modern co-op classic. The usual caveats around the game graphics apply – if you can play on a higher-powered console, then you should – and you’ll have to figure out your own voice chat solution if playing online, but this is the same great game that Hazelight released last year.