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Tearaway Review

When anyone mentions the name Media Molecule it always reminds me of a mad uncle. You know the one who is a little eccentric, but at the same time fun to be around. LittleBigPlanet has this eccentricity in spades with it’s fun and quirky gameplay experiences and abstract art and so too does the studio’s latest title Tearaway, which if anything is even more bizarre, while at the same time just as much fun, if not more so.

Tearaway is certainly an interesting title, seeing you take control of a little character known as Iota or his female equivalent. 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.

Unfortunately all is not well in the land of Tearaway as it has been invaded by small creatures known as Grubs, who not only cause chaos, but are also draining the colour away from this otherwise pleasant land. Thankfully, the Grubs are no match for the combination that is you, the messenger and the unique features of the PS Vita. This is also where the brilliance of Tearaway comes into play, allowing you to manipulate the world with you fingers, so you can help Iota take down the 'Grubs' with ease.

As an example of how to use the Vita’s unique controls, there is often a drum like circle in the ground and as the player you can 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. Later on in the game the Grubs evolve, allowing them to stack up, stand on stilts and even fly. There are even springboard like Grubs that you have to bounce on with Iota and then squish with your finger. Thankfully Iota also evolves, allowing him to jump and roll, the latter of which makes short work of those stilts. Even later on Iota also gains a weapon of sorts, although I won’t go too much into that for fear of spoiling some of the surprises.

As well as for combat, you can also use the back touchpad for other purposes, such as manipulating parts of the environment to move obstacles from your path or even to spring Iota from one platform to the next. The front touchscreen is also used, allowing you to again manipulate the environment by moving pieces of paper marked with finger prints, allowing you to create steps or unveil otherwise hidden or locked paths. The further you get into the game, the more ways you will discover to interact and it's a joy each time you do.

While environmental manipulation does play a big part in Tearaway, there is so much more to 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 paper craft 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 and his NPC friends a little more personal to you.

Throughout the game you’ll often meet characters who would like you to draw a new item for them to wear or draw something to process the story further. In order to do this you’ll enter a special create area within the game, which presents you with a blank canvas and some colour card. From here you can draw the item of your choice using a pencil and when done use the scissors to cut the item out. Once you’re happy you can then return to the game and your item will appear. At 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 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.

The ability to draw items is a big part of the game and really allows you to become part of the story. For instance you draw the snowflakes which fall throughout, while you’ll also draw the head of the aforementioned scarecrow who constantly frightens crows from your path. It’s fair to say that this is a very unique part of the game and something which certainly plays a big part in the adventure.

As with any good adventure game there are little tasks and mini-games to complete along the way. This can be simple things such as scoring three baskets, to finding missing items or solving puzzles. Completing these tasks will unlock the game's currency, which you can then use to unlock new items for you to create and design with. But best of all these tasks are a lot of fun to play and
add a lot to the experience.

What’s great about Tearaway is that it continues to innovate the deeper you get into it. At less than £20 on ShopTo it seems like an absolute bargain with my only worry being that once you’ve seen everything there’s not really a lot else to do. You could always go back and complete the game 100% by finding all the hidden presents and collectables, but whether that’ll appeal to everyone I don’t know.

Tearaway is a fantastic game from the minds of LittleBigPlanet. What the studio has crafted here is unique, fun to play and just for Vita. It goes without saying that if you own a PS Vita then you should own Tearaway, because to me at least, they both go hand in hand.

Words by Joe Anderson (@_wotta).

(Version Tested: PS3)


+ Unique
+ Well Designed
+ A Wonderful Experience throughout
+ Fantastic Music
+ Characters are well thought out and fun to play with


- Replayability could be an issue

Edited On 20 Nov, 2013

( 3 )
sedg's avatar
sedg 3 years ago
Pre-ordered mine this morning. I've heard the game is short, but that's fine with me since the PS4 is out next week. Excellent price too.
Hymeleon's avatar
Hymeleon 3 years ago
Version tested: PS3. Really thought it's a Vita exclusive...
kesouk's avatar
kesouk 3 years ago
Hey, ordered a copy of Tearaway from you guys yesterday at 4pm. It was listed as having a 5 min dispatch, but its now lunchtime the following day, and it's still listed as processing. If I had of known i wouldn't have it today I wouldn't have ordered it. Is there any way to cancel the order?

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