A Couple of years ago now Media Molecule showed the world exactly how you make the most of the Playstation Vita and all its functionality. More importantly they wrapped it up in a unique and inspiring title that never once felt gimmicky or strained. Tearaway made full use of the system cameras, touch screen and rear touch pad, delivering a joyful game experience like no other.
Now the game has been reimagined for the PS4, expanded on in some ways and tweaked for the console controller. Personally I could not wait to delve back into the papercraft world on the other side of my console’s camera and experience again the journey of Iota the Messenger.
Unique, it has to be said again, Tearaway offers a truly beautiful way to play. At first glance the papercraft worlds appear simple, but when you look really closely you can appreciate the thought and design that has gone into the environments. Everything is designed to be something that could be contrsucted in real paper and with the move up to the PS4 the world really comes alive. More often than not you are left wondering how much is rendered and how much is real-world objects scanned into the game.
At its heart Tearawy is a simple and quite funelled platformer with a peppering of puzzles to boot, it might be seen as younger gamers title, but there is much for adults to enjoy. The levels and side quests ‘unfold’ gently and being nosey pays off if you are prepared to take your time looking for secrets. As you progress through the opening sequence Iota gains abiliies to run and jump, the limited combat is explained and the fabulous game camera is revealed. The game also introduces you to some of the specific mechanics that made Tearaway stand out on the Vita.
Where the Dualshock controller only has a touchpad on the front the ability to tap the Vita from underneath has been removed, it had to happen, but I miss the fourth wall feeling when I could pop my fingers into the gameworld from underneath. The touchpad also comes into play when controlling the wind, essential for Iota’s new paper plane. The Dualshock gyroscope also comes into play when a pull of a trigger shines your controllers lightbar into the game world, this can light the way in dark places, bring paper objects to life and mesmerise evil scraps thus leading them to their doom. It’s a neat mechanic, but I’ve never found much success with gyro controls on any format – it must be me.
One of the big cards that the Vita could play was the use of cameras, given that the PS4 camera is not a standard accessory players without it will miss out. With a camera you will see your self peering into the world from a hole in the sky much like the Vita version, without it is a blank white patch. Adding textures from pictures is also limited as with the Vita you could snap anything and see it textured across objects in the game world.
Papercraft is essential and is nicely implemented with the touchpad replacing the Vita screen, the cutting mat can also be used in second screen mode on a mobile device. This adds functionality and will soobn give birth to some fantastic creations from the world of Tearaway. Having this level of control and being able to decorate your character, fill the sky with clouds of your own design and chase butterflies you’ve created just adds a warm and fuzzy depth to the experience.
The ability to export photos and animated GIFs you capture with Iota’s camera is handy and there is a growing community ready to applaud your efforts. Collecting confetti in the game will allow you to buy all the photo modes and colour filters, then you’ll be straight back in for a snap-happy run through. Its also essential for snapping parts of the world that are without colour, to add them to your paper craft collection – which can then be downloaded from the Tearaway community site and created in real paper. So much gentle stuff to see and do.
Overall, Tearaway is a special title in both formats, I’ve been re-experiencing the Vita version in tandem with the PS4. In restaurant full of shooters and violence having a game like this on the menu is a real treat. The franchise is a must to experience for all ages and I defy anybody to not play Tearaway with a satisfied smile on their faces.