LittleBigPlanet is a hard act to follow. Media Molecule has been tasked with not only creating a new game that can match the same charm of their revolutionary platformer, but also craft an experience that takes full advantage of Vita’s unique capabilities. With Tearaway, it looks like they’ll make good on accomplishing both these lofty challenges.
In the world of Tearaway, you are a god. And we’re not talking about the character that you control in the game. You, the player, are a god that the denizens of this papercraft world look upon. In fact, you can snap a picture of yourself at the game’s beginning to cement your godly position.
Your relationship to the world is fascinating, as the game is always aware of your presence. Because the world is made entirely of paper, the Vita acts as a diorama box of sorts. Whenever you interact with your new toy box, the god of this world is literally breaking into the world. For example, you can use the rear touch pad to have your finger burst into the world, knocking over enemies and toppling objects. Seeing a polygonal representation of your finger in this virtual world is a bizarre sensation, to say the least. A nice touch: whenever you “break” the world, you can see through it and see the real world, thanks to the Vita’s rear camera.
Tearaway is structured like a rather standard 3D platformer. However, the puzzles you encounter all utilize PS Vita features in some way. Early on, the most common gimmick used is the ability to bounce IOTA (or ATOI) on platforms by tapping the rear touch pad. You’ll have to navigate your paper messenger through some tricky platforms by rhythmically tapping the system.
You’ll also use the front touch screen to open up curtains, unfold new parts of the environment, and craft new objects for characters to use. For example, I was asked by a squirrel to make a crown for him. I used the touch screen to cut away with a virtual pair of scissors. The end result was this:
I was very easily able to retrieve this image off of Tearaway’s website. Repeating the theme of having the game world interact with the real world, Tearaway lets you keep track of all the photos you take in the game and lets you access them online. Look, the game tweeted this image for all to see.
Eventually, you’ll also be able to unlock guides to make your own real papercraft figures. By progressing through the game, you’ll get access to PDFs that you can print and assemble to recreate things you’ve seen on your adventure.
And you’ll want to make mementos, if only because the world that Media Molecule has crafted for Tearaway is so charming. The papercraft art style is lovingly rendered on Vita, and looks unlike any other game on the market right now. And even more endearing than the visuals is the music; the soundtrack is simply marvelous.
Thanks to its unique presentation and fun use of Vita’s native features, Tearaway manages to become something more than “just another platformer.” Vita owners are starved for good original content, and Media Molecule seems poised to make an adventure that’s truly unique to Sony’s handheld.
Tearaway preview: reaching into a new world