It Takes Two has become such a seminal co-op experience that it’s hard to imagine it’s not yet been released on Nintendo Switch.
That has been rectified this week, however, with the delightful two-player game from Hazelight Studios finally dropping onto the Nintendo eShop. Twenty months after it landed on PC and other consoles, it’s been quite the wait. We imagine that getting the game – which boasts Pixar-quality visuals on the PS5 version – running on the stripped-back hardware of Switch has been quite the challenge. But developer Hazelight Studios and Turn Me Up Games, which has handled the port, has done a stellar job. It Takes Two is as delightful as ever.
Some concessions have had to be made, of course. As is the case with almost every Switch port, graphical settings have been pared back and resolutions scaled down. It means that, particularly if you’re playing docked on a larger TV, things can look a little blurry and not all that sharp from time to time. It’s certainly not the gorgeous game that it is on other formats. But does that matter? Not really: it’s still rather impressive to look at, for a Switch game. And what matters – the story and the gameplay – is as sharp as ever.
If you’re unfamiliar, It Takes Two tells the story of May and Cody, a married couple on the brink of divorce. On hearing the news, their young daughter unwittingly casts a spell, transforming her parents into a pair of tiny, homemade dolls. Less than ideal for May and Cody, who need to fight their way through their now-giant home in a bid to get back into their original, human bodies.
The unique selling point of It Takes Two is that it can only be played in co-op, whether that’s local or online. One player take the reins of Cody, while another controls May. Every puzzle and obstacle in the game has been designed to be done in tandem. Both players need to work together constantly to progress; as the title suggests, it really does take two.
Unfortunately on Switch, you can’t simply play with one Joy-Con: each player needs either their own pair of Joy-Cons or a Pro Controller (or third party equivalent). It’s a little annoying, as the co-op nature of Joy-Cons has always been a big selling point on Switch. But here it’s simply that the controls required in It Takes Two are too simple to fit on one single Joy-Con. It’s worth the trade-off for a more comfortable playing experience too – it just means you need to have a second controller laying around.
You can also play in Local Wireless mode, connecting a friend’s Switch wirelessly to yours, or by joining a friend from afar via Online Co-op. The good news is that every version of the game comes with a free Friend’s Pass, so your player two doesn’t need their own copy of the game. We love that.
We’d wager that perhaps the best way to play It Takes Two on Switch is to make use of the Friend’s Pass, so you and your player two can each play on your own device. The Switch’s tiny screen makes split-screen less than ideal, and while you can dock it to enjoy a bigger screen, it means the visuals are not as sharp. So with a screen each, you get the sharpest visuals without needing to share the space. Win-win.
Despite the visual hit, It Takes Two is as smooth as ever to control on Switch. Both May and Cody move around silky-smooth, responding instantly to any inputs. Jumping, dashing and running is oh-so satisfying as a result, and you’ll have a blast mastering the new skills and tools that May and Cody come across throughout their adventure. You can look forward to shooting, flying, sliding… er, jumping down vacuum tubes, and more. It really is a game that keeps you on your toes.
Is Switch the best place to play It Takes Two? Probably not: it’s a beautiful game which truly deserves the power of a high-end PC or next-gen console to really shine. But that doesn’t mean that this isn’t a worthy port. If Switch is your only gaming format, or even if you simply want to enjoy it again, this time handheld, you’re going to be in for a treat.