Most of the older gamers grew up gaming where the main objective was moving between platforms, jumping on enemies and avoiding traps or pitfalls. Nowadays, gaming is more about getting the highest Kill-to-Death ratio, unlocking the next weapon or buying the latest map pack. It’s not that you can’t still find these fun platformers, it’s just not as prevalent in the market today as it was in the “golden years”.
Unfortunately, you primarily only find a wealth of these games on Nintendo platforms today, so many gamers who opted for shooters, are deprived of how amazing these games can be. This brings me to Media Molecule’s handheld attempt, Tearaway.
At first I heard it was a fun game but I didn’t think much of it. I thought the whole concept of an entire paper world sounded cool, but not something that would hold my attention. Then my perspective changed, and I played one of my favorite games in the last 10 years.
Tearaway brings the majestic experience of jumping between platforms and avoiding death, while adding new features to make the experience something unique instead of a been there, done that style of game. It blurs touch controls, normal pad controls, the Vita cameras and mic all together into a game in a way I truly wasn't expecting. Nothing felt added in to say, “Hey look what the Vita can do!” Instead the game subtlety adds these features in a way that makes it feel like that’s how it was always meant to be.
Tearaway features You (as in yourself) and Iota, the messenger. Iota is tasked with delivering a message to You, who is watching over all the events from the sun. You are guiding Iota through the entire game, helping Iota overcome obstacles, defeating the evil Scraps who try to sabotage Iota, and watching him in the background. Media Molecule did an outstanding job using every feature on the Vita as it played out in the story. For example, it used both front and rear cameras to show Iota your world. Many times the front camera will pick up your face and show you watching over Iota as he climbs over obstacles on his way to deliver the message.
Other times You show Iota what your world looks like by snapping pictures around your room. At first these features seemed odd, but once you realize you are basically a god overlooking this little adventurer’s quest, it’s a welcomed feature as you personally become immersed into the game.
Tearaway is one of those Vita games that truly utilizes what the Vita can do without feeling like it’s tacking on features. The rear trackpad is used so You can penetrate the paper ground to use your fingers against the Scraps or to move obstacles. As you advance in the game, these challenges become more difficult as you have to guide Iota with normal pad controls while using your fingers to move obstacles of out the way to avoid sure death of Iota.
The tilt controls work as expected, taking pictures is similar to Uncharted: Golden Abyss.
Later on in the game some of the challenges rely on doing multiple button inputs and touch or tilt controls at the same time. This provides a good balance of a challenging platformer but not becoming too difficult to advance. Tearaway will have some tough spots, but nothing that will prevent you from beating the level after a few tries.
The world of Iota is completely made out of paper. All structures, all creatures, including Iota. And this is what truly makes Tearaway unique. Throughout the journey the different creatures you befriend will ask you to remake them or adding scary eyes to make them more intimidating or create an item to assert their authority. Just like in LittleBigPlanet, you can add stickers to your critter friends or create whole items entirely out of paper.
One of the coolest things was seeing how making certain objects would then appear all over the level, knowing that what I make plays a role on how some changes occur in the environment.
As You, many objects can be flattened, pulled apart or adjusted with touch controls to help change the environment so Iota can deliver his message. So you really do feel immersed as you alter the appearance of some villager or reroute a tunnel so Iota can cross it. You truly want to see what Iota is trying to deliver. It’s fun how Scraps are the enemies. Instead of being colorful objects, these are just old pieces of newspaper, cardboard, or other uninteresting looking items.
Overall, Tearaway is a unique experience that truly needs to be recognized for how amazing of a title it truly is on the Vita. Anyone looking for a platformer is strongly urged to give it a try, it makes you realize platformers can change and evolve and don’t have to be pigeon holed into the same type of experiences you’ve played over and over again. From the rich looking environments to the touch controls, it’s a complete package with everything carefully planned out and added in to make a product worth buying.
Great use of touch controls
Very immersive experience between player and character
Varied environments made completely out of paper
Might be seen as easy for some
Some may be turned off by constant use of the front camera