Tearaway (PS Vita): Realizing a system’s potential

From the moment I first saw Tearaway, I knew I had to play it. From the makers of the LittleBigPlanet series, it looks like one of those Sherwin-Williams commercials, which are among the most creative and beautiful ads on TV:

I just started it this week, and at about 25%, I’m loving it so far. It’s a really neat game that playfully breaks down the “fourth wall” between player and game.  It takes advantage of the Vita’s unique features, most notably the rear touch pad, and within minutes makes you wonder how you went so long without that functionality. Unlike Uncharted: Golden Abyss, the implementation feels 100% natural instead of coming across as a tacked-on gimmick.

2014-05-03-202142The game itself is a joy to behold. Media Molecule has created a convincing world made up entirely of construction paper, with those satisfyingly familiar colors, textures, and sounds that will immediately take you back to elementary school. The only thing missing is some Elmer’s glue. I find that I’m stopping pretty often throughout each level to look around in first-person camera mode, appreciating the environments and animation.

Customization plays a significant part in Tearaway, not just in the way things look, but how they are used to solve puzzles as well. The main collectible and form of currency in the game is paper confetti, which can be used to buy all sorts of different Decorations. It’s fun, and there are a ton of them. You can also create your own items, which can be as detailed or as crude as you want them to be. Real papercraft models found in-game can be printed out and put together in real life, further blurring the line between pixels and reality.

2014-05-03-172822Anyway, I’m really digging this game, and I can’t wait to get further into it. It keeps throwing new things at you, and it has this wonderful balance of exploration and item collecting. Its cheeky sense of humor is great, and perhaps most importantly for the Vita itself, Tearaway is a very high-quality exclusive that can’t be played anywhere else.


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