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Tearaway Unfolded 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 Scraps, who not only cause chaos, but are also draining the colour away from this otherwise pleasant land. Thankfully, the Scraps are no match for the combination that is you, the messenger and the unique features of the Dualshock 4. This is also where the brilliance of Tearaway comes into play, allowing you to manipulate the world with the light from your controller, so you can help Iota take down the 'Scraps' with ease. 

As an example of how to use the Dualshock 4's unique controls, when shining the light onto the Scraps you will paralyse them and also catch their attention, so by guiding the light towards a hazard such as a well or tear in the land, you can guide them down it, stopping them from terrorising the citizens of the world. There are all manner of Scraps to defeat, but thankfully Iota also evolves, allowing him to jump and roll, the latter of which makes short work of the stilted Scraps that you'll meet later in the game. Even later on in the game, Iota also gains a weapon of sorts, although I won’t go too much into that for fear of spoiling some of the surprises.

Other new features over the PS Vita version, include the ability to create gale force wind by swiping the DualShock 4 touchpad to send gusts in the direction you choose. This is mostly used to unfurl the environment into platforms, although you can also use it to blow the enemies away too. Given this new feature, the developer has included new sections of the game such as the maze-like puzzles where you must change the direction of the wind to bridge gaps and proceed or other areas where you have to create makeshift bridges to cross over large gaping canyons.

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. What's nice about this is that you can either do it in game or use the rather nifty companion app, either way, it's just as great.

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.

While Tearaway is essentially the same as the PS Vita version in the areas you'll visit, thanks to the new controls it does feel like you are playing a completely new game. It's quite a wonderful feeling really, especially since the original title was so good. 

Tearaway is a fantastic game from the minds of LittleBigPlanet and the talented Tarsier Studios. What the developers have crafted here is unique, fun to play and idea for the PS4 and Dualshock 4. It goes without saying that if you own a PS4 then you should own Tearaway, because to me at least, they both go hand in hand.

Words by Joe Anderson.
Twitter: @_wotta | PSN/XBLA: wotta

(Version Tested: PS4)


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


- Could be a little basic for some

Edited On 10 Sep, 2015

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