Tearaway is one of those games you can’t play without smiling. It is just a big barrel of fun that’s been jammed into the Playstation Vita. If you’re a fan of the papercraft aesthetic in real life, Media Molecule has branched out from their LittleBigPlanet series and created a world of paper that you can enjoy in so many ways.
Tearaway follows a similar style of story-driven narrative gameplay like its sibling series LittleBigPlanet. You’re led into a story that directly involves you, and Iota or Atoi, a messenger. A “you” or “yous” (plural) is the title of us as we play the game. We frequently will see ourselves via the Vita’s front facing camera, usually being put in the place of the sun. The character you control, Iota or Atoi (male and female options, something not seen in a lot of games) is trying to deliver you a message. The story of the game is driven around the fact that the character you control and “you” must work together in order to have your message delivered to you.
The gameplay is smooth and simple. While you don’t always have full control over your camera angles, the game is pretty much open for you to explore each level you are in. Each new level/area begins with a “bookmark,” allowing you to go back to other areas to find the remaining discoverables. Discoverables range from missions where you help little creatures in the game, find presents, or dispatch all of the scraps. Dispatching scraps, completing missions and opening presents all earn you confetti. Confetti is the currency of the game. You can buy decorations (and will have to) to decorate pictures, animals, or your own character in the game. Confetti is also important, as you will lose some confetti if your character dies or you fall off the edge of the level. It is also required to purchase different decorations for your characters or filters for your in-game camera.
Every game needs a hero, and every hero needs enemies. Scraps are your enemies. Constructed from what looks like old newspaper, scraps have invaded the world your game takes place in and are causing havoc. The rear touch pad becomes very helpful and useful in dispatching scraps, but also is critical in traversing the game. Many objects in the game must be manipulated via the rear touch pad for Iota to get through certain areas on the level, or to eliminate the scraps. The front touch screen is also used to remove some enemies, and also reveal hidden areas or uncover bounce pads to get to higher areas in the levels.
Game mechanics and aesthetics aside, Tearaway is a short game. In my estimation, I completed the game in less than 10 hours and, without trying, had about 35% of the trophies. It should be an easy platinum, most likely achievable for the average gamer on the 2nd play-through. While the LittleBigPlanet series has a near infinite amount of things you can do (given the creation mode which Tearaway has no such feature), Tearaway lacks that and left me wanting more adventures and discovery. The point of this game is simply to pilot Iota or Atoi all the way up to the sun (you) to deliver you a special little message. The main story on it’s own is still an exciting and fun experience, but you’ll be fully invested in the game only to realize the game is just about to end. While the side “missions” and tasks you can opt to do in a second playthrough, I still think the story and experience you have while playing the game is well worth the price of admission, and highly recommend it. It very much reminded me of Banjo-Kazooie from the N64; it just felt very familiar in terms of progression and gameplay.
Something that is really neat about Tearaway is it’s constant ability to bring you into the real world in a 3d realm. Everything in the game is built out of virtual paper, and as such, there are a number of paper-craft instructions you can unlock in-game to create a 3D version of. They’re usually stark white versions of themselves in the game, and you unlock them by taking a picture of them with the in-game camera. You can then visit the tearaway.me website and print out the instructions to make them yourself.
(You can make this squeezebox! Made by
So, should you buy Tearaway? Yes. Do I wish the game was twice as long? Absolutely. Either that or have two independent story lines between Iota and Atoi’s characters so that there are two playthroughs of the game that would be entirely unique experiences.