December 9, 2013
In Tearaway, you play as a You, an entity that watches the world of Tearaway from within the sun. You also have control over a small mail courier named Iota or Atoi, depending on which you choose. To tell an interesting tale, the narrators enlist your mail courier to deliver you an important message. However evil paper scraps invade from within Your world to stop the message from being received.
Controlling your mail courier, you move about the world to explore and navigate its paper inhabitants. Over time the game introduces new elements such as jumping, rolling, and manipulating. It’s these elements that are slowly trickled in over time and help to keep the game constantly fresh, ensuring that at no point does it feel repetitive or drawn out.
The controls are solid, and it’s pleasing to see that Media Molecule has made the jumping mechanics much quicker and responsive compared to LittleBigPlanet. There are only a few points in which things get slightly questionable. One of these is riding pigs, which flips the directional scheme when moving towards the screen. The camera can also rotate, which can throw off your direction. These aren’t massive issues though and don’t inherently break the gameplay.
Media Molecule spares no PS Vita functionality. Dread not however, because each is used in interesting ways, rather than forced and gimmicky ways. One element has you touching the back touch panel to puncture the ground of the game world, meaning you’re able to push objects around and pummel enemies. Another sees you using the front touch to squash certain enemies or fold out platforms.
Not all features will sit well with gamers though. Being as you are a central point of the storytelling, quite often the front camera is used to display your dashing mug from within the sun, looking down at your admiring courier. Also at many points of the game, you will need to take images of objects to create textures for bald origami animals.
Don’t let this discourage you as the game doesn’t require specific things from you. Don’t want to find a perfect texture for that animal? Just take a picture of anything, even the palm of your hand. It is important to note that this can be an entertaining feature. Such as making a deer look like a plate of food.
Unfortunately, with all of these game mechanics, the difficulty in the gameplay is almost non-existent. While at times it challenges you to think outside the box, or figure out a pattern, anyone with a basic knowledge in platforming will find the game a breeze. In any case that you perish, your courier will instantly pop back up a few feet back.
That said, the lack of challenge never takes away from the game. It feels as if difficulty was never a thought in the minds of the developers, instead Tearaway provides entertainment in design and creativity. And this aspect is done rather masterfully. There was never a dull moment in its many maps.
Tearaway is visually unique and impressive at the same time. The entire world is comprised of paper scraps and origami life. Everything from animals to trees and even water is all made of individually folded paper. It creates its own charm and it’s just fascinating at times.
It’s immediately obvious the work put into the papercraft engine as you can interact with almost everything. Running into environmental objects responds with folds and creases and players even have the ability to cut sheets of paper in the game to create custom designs. These can then be placed on their courier or other objects and creatures. Cut out mittens for your courier to wear, a crown to stick on a squirrel’s head, or even leaves to fall from the sky for an entire map.
Similarly to LittleBigPlanet’s Sackboy, your courier is completely customizable. You can attach new eyes, mouth, and scraps to personalize their look. As mentioned before, you can even create your own decorations with the paper cutting room to take it even further.
The first playthrough of Tearaway’s many worlds can easily run around 8 hours. It really depends on how much you explore each area. However the fun doesn’t stop there as each world is riddled with secret areas and collectibles. So even after finishing, you’ll want to revisit places to get 100 percent on each of them.
Media Molecule has once again created an amazing world, which has been made possible thanks to an equally amazing engine. It means Tearaway is a game that provides new and imaginative experiences that you just won’t find anywhere else. While at times the charming nature of the game can feel like pre-school storytelling, people of all ages should find this fun and entertaining. If you’re looking for a charming and easy to pick up game, Tearaway is a good pick for your Vita library.