Tech News on G4
Greatness unfolds in new Tearaway
Sept 25, 2015
By Alexander Cattani - G4 Canada
Originally released in 2013 as a PlayStation Vita exclusive, Tearaway stood out as one of the more unique titles to be released for the platform. Stylized and charming, Tearaway held promise especially considering it came from the same imaginative minds that brought us the Little Big Planet series.
Developed from the ground-up for the handheld, Tearaway relied heavily on the features, or for the scoffers, gimmicks of the PS Vita. From tapping the rear touchpad and the front touchscreen to interact with the environment, to snapping pictures with the Vita's camera, to even physically blowing on the console, the developers made sure to leave no system feature neglected.
While positively accepted by critics and gamers alike, Tearaway, and most other PS Vita games for that matter, struggled to achieve popularity. Now, with better graphics and reborn on the PS4 as Tearaway: Unfolded, the game looks to have a second chance at greatness.
Depending on which gender you pick, the story follows either Iota or, his newly introduced female counterpart, Atoi. Your chosen character's mission is a simple one. They must rid the world of the evil "scraps" that have invaded via a tear in the sky. Thus, returning joy and happiness to the world and all its inhabitants. It's pretty base level stuff but the uplifting innocent tone of it all made the predictability in the game's plot forgiving. What made the roughly nine-hour jaunt even more enjoyable was the top notch voice acting of the game's two narrators. It's a shame that they don't have more screen time as their quirky presence added greatly to the atmosphere and genuinely made me feel like I was playing a children's novel.
Tearaway also makes reference to the player, or as the game calls it, "The You". If handled poorly, breaking the fourth wall can often result in a gimmicky attempt to make an impression, thankfully Tearaway doesn't fall victim to this and executes including the player within its narrative in an eloquent way.
At its core, Tearaway is a tried-and-true platformer. Though not as much of a collect-a-thon as the Jak and Daxter and Banjo Kazooies of the world. Tearaway's distinctiveness lies within its mechanics. All of the game's core mechanics utilize the DualShock's often ignored touchpad. Actions such as creating art with the drag of a finger, to taping the touchpad to make trampolines to launch your character sky high, the little black rectangle is your gateway into the inspired world of Tearaway.
But be prepared to face the limitations of the touchpad. Some actions work seamlessly and as intended, while others feel irksomely awkward. Take for example when supporting characters tell you to draw items to place into the environment. Depending on the level of detail you wish to incorporate, doing such a task could result in frustration. The touchpad on the PS4's controller isn't nearly as large or responsive as it should be for a game of this nature. This issue is made even more clear when you find out that the creation controls cannot be changed and using the touchpad is sadly your only option. I felt as if my creativity was being stumped in a game that oozes creativity. Fortunately, the rest of the game's controls aren't nearly as problematic.
For me, the real star of Tearaway is its world. Simply gallivanting around the paper mache expanses is a joy all in its own. More often than not, I would stop what I was doing and pan around the environment to take in all the minuet details and subtleties found within the surroundings. With Tearaway, Media Molecule vigorously proves that a game's aesthetic doesn't always need to be super true-to-life or drenched in realism to be impressive or noteworthy.
After my time with Tearaway came to a close, I felt content. The enchanting world, coupled with the noteworthy approach to platforming mechanics felt like a breath of fresh air. Its release is not only great for that imaginatively fueled child with a penchant for creativity, but also for those gamers looking to take a break from all the sword clashing, gun-toting and blood spilling of most modern games.
About G4 in Canada
G4 Canada (formerly TechTV Canada) launched in September 2001. G4 is the one and only television station that is plugged into every dimension of games, gear, gadgets and gigabytes. Owned Rogers Media Inc., the channel airs more than 24 original series. G4 is available on digital cable and satellite. For more information, see www.g4tv.ca.