In past reviews, I’ve made it known that I’m not the biggest fan of platformers nor do I have much experience with them. So when Tearaway hit the scene, it flew under my radar as a game that seemed charming and enjoyable enough but would ultimately fall apart. Even Media Molecule’s previous title, Little Big Planet, as innovative and charismatic as it was, became repetitive and quickly lost its charm. Yet after playing Tearaway, I have to say Media Molecule has outdone themselves by providing a game so creative in its level design and mechanics that I was immediately enthralled every second of the game. It’s not just a charming platformer that relies on a few gimmicky mechanics, but instead is an innovative, polished title that immerses you within the game and keeps on surprising you with its creativity.
Aesthetics (Story, Graphics, Sound)
In Tearaway, you play as the Messenger, a paper doll on a mission to reach the Sun. It’s a simple premise that’s executed extremely well, bringing charm and laughs aplenty as you meet other peculiar characters and battle Scraps. But what makes Tearaway so special in this category is one character in particular: You! The game utilizes the front facing camera as well as the rear touch pad to insert you directly into the game. This creates some truly wonderful moments as you see yourself making funny faces or scowling in the background amidst a parade of papercraft.
The papercraft world of Tearaway is stunning, beautiful and captivating. The lush colors and creative shapes, the smooth framerate throughout the game, the way each crinkle and fold of paper landscape is rendered with a stunning clarity — each of these pops out of the Vita’s LED screen and creates a visual feast for the player to indulge. It’s an odd choice for an art style but it works so well with the tone of the game.
Gameplay (Combat, Systems, Mechanics)
Where Tearaway excels, though, is in it’s extremely creative and ingenious game design. Media Molecule transforms the Vita kit into a myriad of mechanics that allow the player to interact with the world as much as the character. Puzzles and platforming segments are refreshing in their innovative design, like using your finger to stop a record and subsequently the dancing platforms or defeating enemies by poking them through the floor. The game captivates with countless enjoyable moments like these that keep fascinating the player at every turn.
One feature that must be mentioned in detail is the amount and use of customization in Tearaway. The game hosts an incredible amount of customization in the form of camera backgrounds and filters as well as papercraft accessories. Most of these are purely for aesthetic purposes, but there are moments in the game where it becomes a mechanic necessary to progress in the main adventure. Customization isn’t just limited to your character, but you can also customize the world around you. It’s a feature that really pronounces that it’s your world in the handheld and gives you the freedom to mold it.
Tearaway is a whimsical adventure that is sure to please casual and hardcore gamers alike with its simple yet stellar look and its exceptionally creative design. The bright and colorful papercraft world of Tearaway and its cast look fantastic on the Vita screen. What’s even more impressive than its graphics, however, is Tearaway’s ingenious game design that utilizes the Vita kit to its maximum creative limits, from everything to the puzzles to the high level of player and character interaction with the environment. I would definitely recommend this title to anyone who is interested in video games and even to those who aren’t as a good introductory title. I would even go far as to say that Tearaway is a definite system seller for the Vita as it is a highly polished game as well as a good showcase for the real potential of the Vita kit.
Final Score: 9.5 / 10
Written and edited by Tim Atwood
Chief Editor at The Pixel Pen Review