Tearaway-Review Tearaway Review

   24/11/2013 at 21:24       Flying_Pig       7 COMMENTS. - Score 5/5
Source - Media Molecule
 - Playstation Vita, Sony, Media Molecule, Tearaway, Review

Before I start, I promise not to use the words "charm" or "character". For this game I see those words as simple adjectives which are far too easy to use in describing what makes Tearaway different.

Under its skin, Tearaway is a 3D platformer from Media Molecule, previously responsible for the magnificent LittleBigPlanet games.  But while LittleBigPlanet was all about fabric, Tearaway's world is literally paper thin; every element of the game - from the levels themselves to the multitude of people you meet and scenery - looks and reacts as if it's all made from paper.  But rather than being a flat, colourless and static environment, Tearaway's world is vibrant and dynamic. Despite the straight edges, it all feels organic and alive as flowers bloom when you walk past and trees sway in the wind.  It really has to be seen to be believed.

At the beginning you get to choose to play as either iota (boy) or atoi (girl), but the real star of the show is you, the player. 

Tearaway quickly breaks down the fourth wall and not only acknowledges your existence, but places you at the centre of the story.  This is what really sets this game apart – you can control your character through the left analogue stick and face buttons on the Vita, but You as the player are also able to interact with the game directly through use of the front touchscreen and rear touch pad, and through the hardware's gyroscope and accelerometer.  The Vita's cameras are also utilised, with the front camera being used to put your face into the game. 

Tearaway has been clearly made specifically for the hardware features of Sony's handheld, resulting in a title that stands as the best use of the multitude of input devices I have yet seen in a game on this platform.  Nothing feels gimmicky, or tacked on; it's all integral to the game as a whole and most importantly, it just works.  Prime examples include using the rear touch pad to put your finger up "through" the ground to move a log currently blocking iota's progress, or using the touch screen to pull on a ribbon to open a present.

The LittleBigPlanet series has been criticised in the past for its "floaty" platforming. But if you're concerned about whether this criticism extends to Tearaway, you have nothing to fear here – the platforming mechanics are as precise and crisp as you could ask for and certainly up to the standard of any other platformer I've played.

Also referencing LittleBigPlanet, Media Molecule has attempted to create an active and vibrant community around their new game.  For a title with no online play and lacking LittleBigPlanet's phenomenal creation tools, this is no easy task; but what they have created is an interesting website for the game's community,  giving you the option of seamlessly uploading any of the many photos you'll take. 

Furthermore, as you progress, you'll unlock papercraft designs, allowing you to log on to the website and print out templates to use so you can make your very own iota/ atoi or much of the flora or fauna you'll discover in the game.  It may not be as ground breaking as LittleBigPlanet, but it is a lot of fun and adds an extra dimension to the game.

So far, so promising.  We've ticked many boxes to this point – solid platforming, an interesting world to explore and some great use of the features of the hardware.  But what elevates Tearaway from merely good to outstanding is that it is absolute joy to play.  There's some magic formula that Media Molecule seem to have discovered, which means that you cannot help but play it with a massive grin on your face (which you know, because it frequently pops up on the screen).

But there are a few gripes: the camera (controlled by the right analogue stick) isn't completely free and occasionally doesn't let you see where you're going or allows you to get 'lost' in the scenery.

Furthermore, while the game's use of the rear touch pad is excellent, it does demonstrate the limitations of the hardware itself – it's completely useless for precise or complex control. There are also people who will claim that at 6-7 hours long, the experience is too short; It isn't right until the end that the game presents any material challenge.

But for me, these complaints are completely overwhelmed by the sheer joy that Tearaway is to play.

Quite simply, Tearaway is the game the Vita has been waiting for.  It's a perfect companion to the hardware and I can't think of the last time I enjoyed playing a game as much as I have this one. Mechanically, it’s spot-on and the story is great.

But it’s the joyous character and charm lavished on the title that I fell in love with. Tearaway is proof that LittleBigPlanet wasn’t simply a fluke success, and represents a developer at the height of their creative powers.

The Vita – and players – deserves no less.



User Comments:

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DMorgan - on 24/11/2013 at 23:12 wrote:
I REALLY want to play this now...

evilashchris - on 24/11/2013 at 23:19 wrote:
It looks brilliant, but I've been duped before. I'm looking at you LBP.

Flying_Pig - on 25/11/2013 at 00:26 wrote:
Chris - there's a demo :)

FlexibleFeline - on 25/11/2013 at 06:18 wrote:
Nice review. Yes, try the demo. I didn't expect to buy it based off that but it convinced me within about 5 minutes.

peej - on 25/11/2013 at 15:42 wrote:
A charming game. My little girl absolutely loved it, we ended up working through the demo in tandem.

Flying_Pig - on 28/11/2013 at 09:30 wrote:
100%'d this earlier - only a few trophies off the Platinum :D

DMorgan - on 28/11/2013 at 13:22 wrote:
Nice work piggy!

7 comment(s) in total.
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Better late than never, eh Ror?
Khanivor - In response to: Battle Chasers: Nightwar Review - 208day(s) ago.
Enjoyed this, cheers!
evilashchris - In response to: Reflecting on the Life of a Tomb Raider - 293day(s) ago.
Looks who's back. Shady's back.
GOD - In response to: Sniper Elite 4 Review - Xbox One - 623day(s) ago.
Micro Machines was my favourite!
ClaytonNotClive - In response to: Mantis Burn Racing Review - 665day(s) ago.
i agree chris, the Aliens table makes the others look bad.. because its so goood!! but they arent that bad.. haha! ...
neosalad - In response to: Aliens Vs. Pinball Review - 927day(s) ago.