This Review Was Written By You

You loved Media Molecule’s Tearaway.
Author: Aram Lecis
Published: November 20, 2013
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As a proud Vita owner since launch it raises my hackles a bit when I hear folks denigrate the handheld for a supposed dearth of content. There might only be a AAA retail title every four to six weeks over the first 18 months but there was always a steady stream of PSN indie content and cross-buy goodness that has kept my 32GB memory card full with an overwhelming number of options. I thought that was pretty solid for a console still in relative infancy.

That was before last week, when the Vita took a transformative leap forward for me. Over the course of one day I polished off the excellent Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate, followed that by remote playing Need for Speed: Rivals straight from the PS4 to the Vita (and it was GLORIOUS). After that I took a break and used the NBA Game Time app to stream my beloved Knicks live to the Vita (they lost) and wrapped it all up by beginning my journey through the magical land of Tearaway, the newest game from LittleBigPlanet creators Media Molecule.

Yes, I would say the Vita is coming into its own at this point. I’d also say that of all those things I did with my Vita that day the real standout was Tearaway. I’d long admired Media Molecule for the way they’d created such an endearing character and world with Sackboy and LBP. I worried a bit when they kept going back to that well and it seemed that they would never step away from the sack, but those fears have proven to be unfounded.

In their own way, Media Molecule has been putting their own spin on the “God” genre for quite some time. All their games have featured “creation tools” and given the players agency to craft their own worlds for themselves and the community as a whole. Not only that, the story levels MM built into the games always referred to the player as a tangible part of the game world that was controlling Sackboy. With Tearaway they may leave the creation tools by the wayside but they crank up the player immersion factor and they do it by finding ways to use the various Vita features in ways no one else has.

Honestly, it comes as no surprise that MM would be the ones to harness the technology of the Vita and find smart uses for it. It’s also not surprising that they were able to take their unique eye for art and spin it off into something new but equally as charming as the beanbag and crafts look of the LBP series. This time around they’ve stepped laterally into the world of construction paper (that’s still a craft I suppose). This allows for some amazing looking layered techniques that work really well in the new 3D perspective they’ve gone with. I constantly found myself staring at curls and folds of paper, studying the virtual origami. There’s even an incredibly cool feature where you can find origami plans in the game and send them to a website so you can print and fold them in your real life. Is that not the coolest thing you’ve ever heard of?

Yes, you read that correctly a few sentences ago. While LBP was a clever take on the (essentially) 2D platfomer, Tearaway takes its cues from the stereotypical 3D platformer. You’ll have fairly free-roaming rights through an interconnected series of a dozen or so levels of the world, each with their own set of objectives to unlock. Make no mistake, this game isn’t especially challenging. With a little exploration you won’t have much trouble knocking off all the goals in one playthrough, and death carries very little consequence. Really, you are just here to see the sights and enjoy the ride of playing the game and checking out the excellent story.

The game looks delicious and the world is charming beyond belief, but neither of those are what really set Tearaway apart from every beautiful and well-crafted game out there. The REAL star of the show here is the way MM harnessed the Vita to make things like touchscreens not only an integral and organic method if input in the game, but how they’ve used every bit of the technology to integrate the player into the game more than ever. There are plenty of games that toss words like “immersion” into their press releases but this game delivers on it in a way that nothing before it has been able to.
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