Developer: Media Molecule
Release Date: 11/22/2013
Rating: Everyone 10+
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Media Molecule is known for innovation. LittleBigPlanet was a huge revolution in creative sandbox gameplay and platforming. Tearaway does the same thing for the Vita, but for the platforming genre. The game is the best looking game for Vita and is the only game out that uses all of the hardware’s features in a very unique and original way.
You play as the messenger Atoi who must reach the sun where a You (the player) has ripped a hole in and are letting Scraps inside the world of Tearaway. The game uses the front facing camera to show you in the sun. You can then control Atoi and guide him using the rear touchpad and touchscreen. There really aren’t complicated puzzles but challenging platforming sections. When you see gray areas with the PS buttons on it (like the rear touch pad) you can poke your finger through in the game. The first time I did this it made me giddy and smile. You can do this to fight off scraps, push blocks around, and bounce drum pads to help Atoi along. You can also use the touch screen to roll out paper and interact with dozens and dozens of various papercraft items.
Just these two major features alone are enough to call Tearaway the best game for Vita, but it doesn’t stop there. You can customize Atoi and characters in the world kind of like LBP. There’s no Pop-It but you can buy items using Confetti you find in the world. There aren’t as many items as LBP, but because it’s a straight-up platformer you won’t really need that many items. Tearaway also has a unique papercraft origami collection you can find and print out online to create your own Tearaway world. To acquire these blueprints you need to find pure white objects in the world and take pictures of them. This adds to the creativity on a whole new level and helps build on this “real world leaking into the virtual world” theme.
Outside of platforming and customizing things there is combat, but it’s very simple and easy. You can’t die in the game and combat never varies from jumping on Scraps or picking them up and throwing them. Some involve jumping in their Springpad and tapping them to kill them. I wish the combat were a little deeper, but what’s here at least works and is fun. There’s a lot of stuff to find in the world like hidden presents, and side objectives where you help out various animals. After you beat the game the only thing you can do is complete the game 100%, but the game is well worth multiple playthroughs.
Let’s talk about graphics. I have no idea how MM got this game to look like a PS3 game but they did. There are no jaggies, no ugly low-resolution textures, the lighting is great, and the animations are gorgeous. Wrinkled paper on the ground can be stepped on and you can watch it depress and raise back up when you walk off of it. All effects are done by paper and no other game looks like it. This is truly the best game on Vita right now and every owner needs to play this.