It Takes Two: A Game Describing Love and Divorce

It Takes Two: Official Trailer

It Takes Two is an action-adventure video game developed by Hazelight Studios and published by Electronic Arts in March 2021. It is a cooperative game played by two players, each controlling a main character: May or Cody. In the game, the clashing couple Cody and May are transformed into dolls. The players are required to work together to solve puzzles and go on an adventure to transform back into their real form.

Personal Experience

The story of Cody and May (which will be discussed in the analysis below) is not special or unique. In fact, the conflict between them can be said to be very common for couples, which makes it more relatable to players, especially those who are or have been in a relationship. Though the story is not that special, the game mechanics and gameplay experience deliver the story in an interesting way, by making use of fictional characters (such as the Book of Love) to guide them in fixing the relationship. Almost everything in the game is interactive, which helps me to constantly get engaged in the game, knowing that there are a lot of new things for me to discover and enjoy. The game does not get boring as each level assigns me and my friend a new tool or special ability, which we will have to figure out and make use of it. Even when we feel stuck or frustrated in finding a way to progress the game, we could always walk around and interact with the surroundings to distract ourselves from the main task and have a break by playing some simple small mini-games inside.


This blog will analyze how the game brings such a unique and fun experience for the players that make it the Game of the Year 2021, given by The Game Awards. The analysis will be done using the elemental tetrad and lenses defined in The Art of Game Design: A book of lenses by Jesse Schell.


The elemental tetrad consists of the 4 basic elements of a game: aesthetics, mechanics, story, and technology. It Takes Two made use of all four elements to create a fun gameplay experience for the 2 players. Though the Technology part might not be as visible as the other three, the implementation in Unreal Engine makes the game smooth and allows the players to focus on the other 3 elements and have a more immersive gameplay experience.

  • Shadow work, dazzling visual effects, and realistic textures
  • The player does not get bored as the environment and surroundings change every chapter, which gives each chapter a unique design, color scheme, and sound effect.
It Takes Two in-game screenshot
  • The mechanics change in each chapter of the game, giving 2 players a different set of abilities. Players therefore will need to explore around and figure out how to make use of their tools to work their way through.
  • For example, in one chapter of the game, Cody will have the ability to throw screw nails and summon them back by whistling. May gets a hammer that can smash most things in her way (including Cody). Through the chapter, the players will have to realize that they will not be able to get through certain parts of the game without each other. At some point in time, Cody will have to throw the nails on the wall and let May swing over to travel to another location.
  • In each chapter, the game also provides some simple mini-games that allow players to make use of the tools they currently hold. The games are all extremely simple and well-known worldwide, allowing the players to relax and have fun without any tutorial needed.
    • In the ‘nail and hammer’ chapter, players will walk past a box with holes where they can play whack-a-mole, where Cody can be the ‘mole’ and May can whack with her hammer.
Mini-game in It Takes Two
  • The story in the game is relatively relatable for players because the reasons for them having conflicts are common between couples or families. Although it is somehow expected that the relationship will slowly fix as the game progresses, the game mechanics and aesthetics make the story more enjoyable and engaging.
  • Use of metaphors: The chapter where May and Cody use magnets to solve the puzzles is the phase where they find their attraction to each other again 


  • The essence of the game is to collaborate with the player’s significant other. One of the essential experiences most players will have is the satisfaction of progressing through the game by communicating and collaborating with each other.
  • The other essential experience players might have is from the aesthetic part of the game. The realistic textures and choice of color schemes give players an immersive gameplay experience.


  • The environment and surroundings in the game are very interactive, allowing players to get rewarded for their curiosity.
  • The puzzle-solving journey will sometimes be intense and stressful. Therefore, the mini-games that players can discover provide great help for letting them relax and have fun, even though they do not help in the progression of the game at all.


  • As mentioned, each chapter gives May and Cody a different unique tool or ability. They will have to use these tools to puzzle through the obstacles. This ensures that the players will not get bored as they will always need to learn a new set of mechanics in each chapter.


  • The title of the game reflects its theme of love and collaboration
  • The storyline of Cody and May fixing their relationship and rekindling their love is also coherent with the theme. The game made use of a ‘living book’, called Dr. Hakim, to teach Cody and May (and the players) the importance of each other in the relationship and each other’s lives.
  • The game mechanics emphasize the theme by making the players realize they can only finish the game if they communicate and collaborate with each other. They cannot leave anyone behind.


It Takes Two has done well in much more lenses other than those mentioned in this blog. Using technology to support the aesthetics, mechanics and story of the game has made is such an enjoyable game for players to play with a good friend, family member or life partner.

The Dagger of Time: Escaping in the Virtual World

The Dagger of Time is a 2-4 player virtual reality escape game created by Ubisoft. The game requires players to make use of the tools found inside the virtual world, interact with the objects and solve the puzzles.

I enjoyed this game a lot because the puzzle design are very intuitive, and the game attempted to design the tools in a way where it’s usage is not achivable in reality (such as stopping and going back in time).

Why is it engaging?

Escaping from an open space

Escaping in the virtual world is a total different experience compared to doing it in reality. In the physical world, players are usually given a realistic story, brought to an enclosed space and escape by exploring around a few rooms. However, VR allows the game designers to be imaginative so that the players are now able to explore an open space, which is a lot more spacial. Players can also use their controllers to grab onto things and do actions such as climbing and swinging, which can be extremely fun and engaging, especially for first timers.

Creative usage of tools

In the game, each player gets a different special tool that gives them distinct abilities, so that every individual can be useful in some part of the game. When I played the game, I got the dagger of time, which allows me to control the time in the game. My friend got a sword which allows her to break things and explore more. Here, communication and collaboration becomes extremely important as players will not be able to progress without one another.

Easy to learn

The game controls are designed in a way such that first timers are able to learn it without reading much text and introduction, which might affect their experience in VR games. This game made use of a one-button control system, so that players can interact with objects and do actions just by pressing one single button on their controller. By doing this, players are able to understand how to play in five minutes, and explore the world without needing too much actions (in reality).

Possible Improvements

Although the gameplay experience is interesting and enjoyable, I personally felt that there are still space for improvement. In The Dagger of Time, players will only be able to walk to a very near distance with their feet. If they want to travel to a location that is further away, they will need to use their controller to ‘teleport’ themselves to that place. This feature gave me a less immersive experience since I always tend to walk to any specific place (by habit), and will need to be constantly reminded by the VR shop staff that I am physically walking out of range. I believe the game could provide a even better experience if it supports equipments that allows players to travel ‘inifinitely’, such as the KAT-VR Omini-Directional Treadmill.


Ubisoft have published escape games that have similar gameplay with connected background stories, which could attract players to look forward to explore more about the virtual world that they are escaping in. The fact that VR allows the design of escape games to be more creative amazes me.