Tearaway Review

No pirates, gangsters, meta-philosophy, or incredibly pretty graphics here. Yet Media Molecule's paper art creation is a cut above the rest.

The PlayStation (PS) Vita hasn't exactly been the most succesful handheld console of all time; far from it. The reason is that it never really had a great console-defining game to play on it. But thanks to Media Molecule, the minds behind Little Big Planet, that game has finally been made and it's called Tearaway.

In a year that has seen pirates, gangsters, a new generation of consoles, and other games pushing the boundaries of storytelling and how we define gaming, the sheer wealth of creativity and imagination that has poured into Tearaway manages to make it stand out even among the most bedazzling of 2013's behemoths.

Child's Play

It's hard to imagine that a game that is clearly aimed at children has managed to woo a dedicated adult gaming crowd such as us and countless others. By all accounts, there isn't much reason why it should. In essence Tearaway is essentially a basic platformer game. And even then, it's not particularly difficult. There's never a "game over", and even if you die you respawn pretty close by without loosing what progress you've made before your untimely demise.

But that's not to say the game is without challenge. You can just breeze through the game without so much of a snag. If you want to find some the hidden extras, be forewarned that the many of them will push your agility and patience to the limit, and possibly the durability of the PS Vita!

So if the basic gameplay isn't much to write home about, why is this game so great?

All Hands (and Fingers) On Deck!

http://tearaway.mediamolecule.com/

One of the great things that is interesting about the game, and keeps it interesting, is the variety of interaction techniques that you have to employ to play it. Media Molecule have made great work at using all aspects of the PS Vita's interactive features, mainly the tilt control, front touch screen, and touch sensitive back. The front and back facing built-in cameras are also used to lesser extent, but still play a significant part of the game and goes a long way in adding a real sense of wonder and whimsy. Actually playing the game in these various new ways will keep you intrigued throughout, constantly surprising and challenging you like few other consoles have before.

However, this does also contribute to the scintilla of criticism we can give. Sometimes tilting the handset or trying to interact with the touch-sensitive back is fiddly and awkward. But for 90% of the time, it works really well. There's also the usual complaint about frustrating camera pans, but that's something that gaming as a whole still hasn't managed to get right.

Welcome to the Fold

The most wonderful part of the game is the paper art world that Media Molecule have created. It's bright, it's colorful, and its unnecessarily charming. In an era where we've seen graphics become more finely tuned towards super-realism, actual ingenuity and creativity in creating something so bold and unique has not been seen in mainstream gaming for some time, bucking the trend of games merely bettering what they've already achieved.

"[The] actual ingenuity and creativity in creating something so bold and unique has not been seen in mainstream gaming for some time, bucking the trend of games merely bettering what they've already achieved."

The game's world is constantly unexpected. Everything from how rushing water and the wind are simulated using virtual bits of paper to just the entire look and feel is just astonishing. It's been a while since a game has managed to visually excite players into immersing themselves in the game's world and arouse a sense of wanton exploration and discovery. It's simply some of the most beautiful and original game artwork we've seen, and it captivates because of it. Couple that with a sense of fun and humour that's part child-like and part anarchic, and the world comes alive with a gleeful and unshakeable energy.

Overall

What's more, by restoring the colour to people and objects in-game using your character's camera gives you access to printable plans to make your own paper figurines (as pictured). It gives you a reason to go back into the game upon initial play-through and strive towards 100% completion, not that you'll really need much encouragement to do so.

We're very glad that Tearaway has not only met our expectations since our first encounter with it at Eurogamer Expo 2013, but exceeded them. Notably, the graphics now look really great, even on the small (but generous, for a handheld) screen that is the PS Vita. Put along with out a great and unexpectedly intelligent narrative and some great pacing and repeatability, it's an insanely delightful and fuzzy-feeling inducing game.

"If you play this and fail to grin uncontrollably, you probably should get yourself checked out by a doctor."

We'll repeat what we said about it back in September 2013:

"If you play this and fail to grin uncontrollably, you probably should get yourself checked out by a doctor."

Tearaway is available to buy for the PS Vita now. For more information about the game, visit http://tearaway.mediamolecule.com. 

Our Rating
9
No pirates, gangsters, meta-philosophy, or incredibly pretty graphics here. Yet Media Molecule's paper art creation is a cut above the rest.

Featured Columnist

Bearded British game-bear. Likes his JRPGs accompanied with a G&T. Lives in London, UK. Also writes a lot about theatre and film. *jazz hands*

Published Feb. 25th 2020
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    Yeah, I gave it a 9 as well. To date, the only Vita game I've actually completed.
  • Bradley Sanders
    Contributor
    Very good review. I enjoyed the way the article was set up and how each section was broken up by a clever play on words. I bought this game on the psn holiday sale and i haven't gotten around to it but im gonna load with the free time we have before the next big games come out.
  • Destrolyn.Bechgeddig
    Featured Columnist
    Glad you enjoyed the review, and I really hope it lives up to the expectation I've created when you get around to playing it!

    I'm now working back through the game to try and get 100% completion. Still makes me gurn like a small child who's had too many sweets! :D

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