PlayStation Universe

Tearaway hands-on preview

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on 29 October 2013

As the creator behind the critically-acclaimed LittleBigPlanet franchise, Media Molecule’s pedigree certainly speaks for itself. Indeed, the DIY platform series - starring the multi-faced and lovable SackBoy - quickly became synonymous with the PlayStation 3 and its handheld cousins, solidifying it as one of the most successful new IPs of the past five years. After four core entries spreads across PS3, PSP and PS Vita, not to mention a Karting spin-off, the British developer has made the decision to leave SackBoy and chums behind for a fresh take on the platform genre -- Tearaway.

Right from the get-go, it's evident that Tearaway carries the Media Molecule stamp -- this is the House of SackBoy at its creative peak. Protagonist Iota shares many similarities with his stitched stablemate, from his adorable, vibrant aesthetic to the fact he can be customized and kitted out to your liking. And, like LBP, Tearaway still can’t shake that idiosyncratic spark that you’d expect from the likes of Media Molecule. In this case, the protagonist -- Iota or Atoi depending on your choice of gender -- must deliver a message to you, the player. Not only that, but PS Vita’s camera puts your own face - known as the You - high in the sky looking over the proceedings as you play. Not exactly your standard platformer, right?

Graphically, Tearaway is stunning and certainly differentiates itself from its contemporaries. As you’ve probably gathered by our previous coverage on the game, the platformer employs an aesthetically-pleasing, ‘paper’ visual-style that should bring a smile to anyone who has played something like Paper Mario. Everything, from the trees, logs, to the actual characters that inhabit this bizarre world, looks just like paper creations that you’d cobble together in infant school. It’s cute, yes, but also quite striking and works wonders in conjunction with the core gameplay mechanics.

Tearaway adheres very much to the same platforming paradigm you’d expect in this day and age - so expect plenty of timed jumps, rolling around in a ball and bonking baddies on the head - but with more than a few fresh tweaks to spice things up. The concept is built around interacting with two worlds -- Iota’s and your own. Each stage is packed with obstacles and various environmental puzzles to overcome, and it’s here that PS Vita’s unique functionality comes directly into play. For example, stand Iota on top of a springboard-type surface, and you can use the rear touchpad to launch our vibrant protagonist skyward, allowing him to reach items or new locations.