This article has been archived and may have some errors due to a previous design of MGL. None of the review has been altered however. My Christmas pennies & GAME vouchers went on one thing this year: a PS Vita and I have to say it was one of the best calls I have made. More on that from me later, since you have my epic year in gaming post to keep you going for now I’m focusing on one of the best & unique experiences in gaming out there: Tearaway.
No surprises that the marvellous team at Media Molecule, creators of Little Big Planet, are behind something so incredibly fun and addictive to play. You are taken away from the adventures of Sackboy and instead take on the story of Iota or Atoi, either a male or female envelope with a new story to deliver to the YOU, which is literally you as you’re playing the game. That’s right, the vita camera is employed in this game from the start in order to make you part of the tale so, unless you want a big shock, don’t play it first thing in the morning with bed head and eyes still recovering from far too much drink the night before!
Look and Feel
The Media Molecule worlds are special, they make you smile and almost warm inside just to look at them and it’s exactly the same when you first play Tearaway. The colours and graphic prowess of the Vita are shown off massively even in the early moments as the stage is set for your adventure in a world made of paper.
As stated you are an integral part of the tale, the face in the sun and Iota/Atoi is creating a new tale with you trying to get to your world and deliver their message. The immersive nature of the game grabs you right away and the camera often catches you out smiling joyfully as you start to move across the beautiful and varied paper based world. Everything is to absorb you into this unique world and it all works beautifully. It needs seeing to be properly understood.
The story here is yours, created by Iota/Atoi (I played at Iota so will reference him from now on although you can play either from the start) and The You in the sun, you explore the paper world rescuing people from invaders coming from the You’s world known as Scraps: aggressive paper boxes that are making life not very nice for the inhabitants of the paper lands. Over your adventure you will attempt to get to the sun via many different ways but the story adds twists and turns so you will be thwarted at times and sent into numerous locations across the land.
The story takes you across some very well designed locations to meet some quirky and interesting characters who all have gibberish type speech that adds to the environment of the game, while the Green Man (speaking good old Yorkshire!) occasionally appears to give you guidance on your progress through the story. There are some very interesting locations with lots of additional things to do as you travel such as making things for people with your drawing mat and rescuing people from Scraps.
Here is where the game really makes everything come together so well, it’s not only a joy to look at and to be involved with but it’s fun, simple and engaging to play.
You have standard platforming mechanics going on to navigate the world but everything being paper allows for certain parts to be influenced by you as you play. Your fingers push on the rear touch-pad on the vita and burst into the game to kill Scraps, move objects or solve puzzles, exceptionally cool and fun to do. Then there are bouncing pads that again respond to the back pad but this time send your envelope flying upwards to other levels plus good use of the motion detection of the Vita too in later sections.
Combat is not a huge focus of the game but there are numerous encounters with differing types of scraps who are small, angry boxes in differing forms. Some run around, some walk on stilts and others stack into a big tower! It adds variety and forces you to use different abilities to defeat them. Abilities such turning into a paper ball and navigating mouse holes and tubes or using a special accordion type device as a method of solving puzzles and fighting Scraps. All are very well done and are handed out to the player in a progressive way that keeps things interesting and always giving the player something new to learn.
There are a whole load of things to collect too, confetti pieces that can be used to modify your envelope, presents and parts of the world that have lost their colour which are re-animated when you take a photo of them. What is a really nice touch with these white items that come back to life is they add to an online collection of templates and you can print and make them in real life, a great idea for children and parent s alike.
There are also presents to find in unusual places too so exploring more than then set path is essential and there are gifts earned for doing things for people. At times you will also be asked to make things with your drawing pad, you choose the coloured paper and make an item for a character or design something for use in the background with your finger, my other half (the lovely Leopard Warbs) who would frequently steal the Vita to play this game, designed a snowflake and then it was what fell from the sky around one of the lands and was really impressed by it. Your camera also plays a big part in this effect too, where you take pictures of yourself as you play and these are also integrated into the scenery… so make sure your hair and make-up is done!
What an experience and a practically flawless one at that. The only critiques I have are the odd moments where you can get stuck in an area and have to restart a checkpoint, but it only happened twice so it’s not horrendous. Then there is the length of the game, it’s a little short and, while there is a lot to do to collect everything and get those shiny trophies to pop, it’s not going to take much more than 12hrs to 100% everything. Of course it’s such a wonderful experience you won’t hesitate to play again as the other character and it’s better to be short and brilliant than to be longer and lose its way I guess.
Simply put, if you were even thinking about getting a PSVita Tearaway is more than enough reason to get one! Check the video below for an example of what it’s like and go below that for the final scores!