Developer Media Molecule is more famous for the LittleBigPlanet series.
Tearaway is the first non-LittleBigPlanet game the studio has made and it is also the first game it has made for the PS Vita console.
As talented as the studio is, does Tearaway have the same charm that the LittleBigPlanet series has?
The most unique aspect about Tearaway is the fact that you are playing in an environment that is entirely made out of paper.
This gives the game an unorthodox approach because you can manipulate and shape certain objects in each of the levels to your advantage.
The game utilizes a lot of the PS Vita’s touch screens and gyroscope controls that make the game stand out from many other handheld titles I’ve played. The best part about the game’s controls is that they don’t feel gimmicky or forced. The controls feel natural and you will be comfortable with them very quickly.
One of the first things you will do in the game is that you have to take a picture of yourself. The player is referred to as “You” and they will act as the game’s deity so to speak. The characters within the game can see your face on the sun.
I said this before and I’ll say it again, this reminded me a lot of the Teletubbies TV show with the baby’s face acting as the sun. There are other moments in the game where you can take a picture of yourself too. It’s quite funny if you decide to poke a funny looking face when you play the game…
After you have taken your photo, you will then get to choose the character you can play as. There is no option to really customize the look of the main character as you can only get the option to choose whether to play as a boy or a girl.
The only differences between the options are or course the appearance of the character and also the names. The boy is called Iota while the girl is called Atoi. Once you have done that, the game starts.
Tearaway has a simple story of Iota/Atoi trying to rid the land of enemies known as “scraps” as well as helping out other people in need. Iota’s/Atoi’s main goal however is to meet up with the player which I mentioned before is represented as the sun.
It will be a tough task because Iota/Atoi doesn’t have super powers or anything like that. It’s a rather unique story that is typical for a studio like Media Molecule to produce. I also liked the fact that your character is mute and it made them more relatable. Most of the other characters you meet will talk in gibberish (with subtitles) with only the two narrators speaking proper English.
Gameplay wise, Tearaway is a lot of fun mainly because of the paper world that has been created. There are many things in the environments that can be changed or altered simply by using your fingers on the PS Vita’s touch screens.
You can use your fingers to move around huge logs, rip apart doors, open presents and do a whole lot more. It’s very fun to be able to act like “God” and change the landscape with your own hands.
During the latter stages of the game, you’ll be using the gyroscope to change around platforms for Iota/Atoi to walk on. This was arguably the hardest part of the game, but it happens near the very end anyway. There are times in this game that you’ll need a little patience to get through, although the full game itself is pretty easy and I doubt many people will get stuck.
In terms of fighting the enemies called the “scraps”, they’re not very hard to beat. Iota/Atoi can pick up and throw most of them and you are not penalized when you die in this game. There are other types of scraps that require other abilities for you to defeat, but I will not spoil this for anyone that wants to discover what these are...
The best part of the entire game for me was taking photos with the camera as well as making my own paper designs. There are parts of the game where the characters will ask the player to design something for them.
You can use the PS Vita’s touchscreen to draw just about any shape you can think of and the character will love anything you came up with. Even though the character requested for me to draw a crown, I ended up drawing a banana instead and he was still satisfied with it.
You can also decorate characters with random stickers and objects you’ve created too. Taking photos of the creations you’ve made and sharing them with the online community made me laugh a few times...
Another great feature of this game is that you can find instructions on how to make your own paper creations in real life.
All you have to do is take a photo of a white object in the game. Taking a photo of the white object turns it into color, but it also gives you instructions on how to make the paper design yourself. Obviously Origami takes skill and patience so I’ve yet to make anything myself at this stage. Still if you’re artistic enough, you can create lots of things such as a paper squirrel, scarecrow and lots of other things that appear in this game.
Tearaway is a fun game, but it isn’t without its flaws. Personally, I felt the game to be too easy compared to any of the LittleBigPlanet games. The puzzles and overall platform-game elements weren’t so hard and I rarely felt challenged in this game.
As aforementioned, combat is way too easy because there are no consequences if you die. You will just restart at the exact place you left off. Another thing I didn’t like about the game was the weird soundtrack. There were a few pieces of music I liked, but the majority of the music sounded quite odd. It’s hard to describe what it sounded like because it was music I’d never really heard before…
Another thing that Tearaway falls short on is extra features and content. The longevity of the LittleBigPlanet series was wonderful because there were multiplayer modes and new content created from the active LBP community.
Even the LittleBigPlanet game on PS Vita had multiplayer modes and user-created levels. Tearaway however offers nothing apart from the short single player campaign. Even though I liked the single player story, I felt a bit deflated when I finished it because there wasn’t anything else I could do other than play over the same levels again…
Tearaway is a unique and fun little game for the PS Vita. If you loved any of the LittleBigPlanet games, you’ll love the charm and humor that Tearaway brings to the table too.
The controls are excellent as is the visual presentation too. The only things that bring the game down are the fact that the game offers nothing else outside of the short single player story.
Tearaway would have been better if there were more things to do and if it was longer too.
Lasting Appeal: 7.5