LittleBigPlanet creator Media Molecule is known for its clever innovation and unique style and now the studio is planning to work its magic once again, except this time it’s moving away from its popular series and instead focusing on the features of PlayStation Vita with its latest title, Tearaway.
Tearaway is certainly an interesting title, seeing you take control of a little character known as Iota. What’s unique about Iota is that he is an envelope in a world made of paper; he’s a messenger who is trying his best to get to the ‘You’ in the sun and deliver a message that all is not well. The ‘You’ in the sun that I’m talking about is just that - you the player. At the beginning of the game you appear in the sun in the sky and stay there throughout the adventure as Iota works his way through this world inspired by paper craft in order to reach you.
The brilliant thing about the world of Tearaway is that you are able to manipulate it with you fingers, so you can help Iota as small creatures known as 'Grubs' cause havoc all around. As an example there is often a drum like circle in the ground and as the player you can an crash your finger through it, causing the Grubs to scramble all over the place and become dazed, this allows Iota to pick them up and throw them at each other or over the edge, which gets rid of them once and for all.
Players can also use the back touchpad for other purposes, such as manipulating parts of the environment and more. The front touchscreen is also used, allowing players to again manipulate the environment by moving pieces of paper marked with finger prints, allowing them to create steps or unveil otherwise hidden or locked paths. All of this paper manipulation is very useful for Iota, who in our preview was trying to get to the catapult at the top of the mountain in order to spring himself into the sun and therefore the arms of the player.
While environmental manipulation does play a big part in Tearaway, there is so much more too it. For instance, as Iota goes about his adventure he’ll be given a camera. With this camera he is able to take pictures of items that have had the colour drained from them, and by doing so he’ll unlock a papercraft which the player can then keep and print out at the tearaway.me website, allowing you to have a little bit of the game to keep on your shelf. In addition, Iota can also decorate both the environment, NPC’s and himself with various items and stickers. Sometimes this will allow the story to progress, or unlock hidden presents, while at other times it’s just fun to make Iota a little more personal to you.
Another great feature is that you are often able to draw straight into the game. For instance, at one point you are asked to draw a snowflake using the various craft sheets at your disposal. Using a pencil you can draw the snowflake in using any shape or paper colour you like, therefore if you wish you could even draw a green snowflake and when done it’ll start snowing sheets of green flakes all over the screen. At other times you are asked to draw mittens, pumpkins and all other manner of items, all of which will often make a reappearance to remind you of your handy work. You'll also interact with the video in other ways, e.g by recording your scariest scream for a pumpkin headed scarecrow so that he can scare the birds out of your path.
One part which make me laugh was the when a white reindeer needed a new coat and asked me to take a picture, so I decided to take a picture of my dog and low and behold, the reindeer had a new dog patterned coat. Brilliant.
It seems that there are many more surprises to come from Tearaway. It’s charming and well designed, yet coming from Media Molecule that’s not entirely unexpected. One thing is for sure though, this is a game which will continue to innovate the deeper you get into it and in this respect I can’t wait to play more.