Tearaway is definitely one of the most unique games to be released in the past year. With a world entirely made out of papercraft, it tells the simple story of a little paper messenger trying to deliver a message to the face in the sun (which happens to be you, the player). What the game does within that framework, and how it perfectly optimizes all the features of the PS Vita, delivers an experience unlike any other game out there.
Tearaway is not your typical platform game, in much the same way that Media Molecule’s first game, Little Big Planet, wasn’t. However, Tearaway takes it to a whole new level. Instead of simply running and jumping through levels, player and game character often have to work together to get past obstacles. Both the Vita’s front and rear touchpads are used by the player (called ‘the You’) to aid your little papercraft buddy, and the game uses all of the Vita’s features to optimize the game for that system, which isn’t something you often see anymore.
You use the camera a lot as well, taking pictures of objects within the game in order to get real papercraft blueprints; taking pictures of your own environment and applying it to creatures within the Tearaway world; and even taking pictures of yourself. My favourite part of the game was definitely taking dumb pictures of myself, which would periodically just show up in game (with hilarious results).
The relationship between the game world and the real one is unique, in that the two are nearly indistinguishable via the use of the Vita’s cameras. You are not merely an avatar in this game, you are literally a part of it, and I have to admit I got a little teared-up once I reached the end of the game.
Tearaway simply wouldn’t work on any other system out there, because Media Molecule really thought about what the Vita can do, and tailored their game mechanics to fit. It’s all done in a very organic way, and it’s definitely a game any Vita owner should buy. Hopefully it will inspire other developers who are making games for the Vita to think outside of the box.
The only thing I didn’t like (and it is a minor gripe) is the lack of prizes that you get. Pretty much the only thing you can earn is confetti, which is used to unlock decorations for your papercraft characters, even for optional events. It just doesn’t seem like a very good reward for the extra effort, as confetti is such an abundant resource. More consideration into optional rewards is the only thing I wish I had seen more of in this game. For example, special decorations that can only be unlocked with confetti and by doing the side quests would shake things up a little.
Ultimately, Tearaway is a joyous game: it’s not trying to be clever, or trying to piss you off by being too hard (though later levels are challenging). Its main goal is just to be fun. It has the well thought-out level design, unique visual style, and fun music that we’ve come to expect from Media Molecule. Tearaway is easily one of the best games I played last year on any system, and you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t go and experience it for yourself.