Full Disclosure: I did not play Tearaway on the PS Vita when it originally came out, so take this review as a first time experience rather than an update on a previously released game.
The PlayStation 4 has had quite the range of exclusives release this year. We’ve had a cinematic cover shooter, a hardcore action RPG and most recently a choice driven narrative experience. Now, we’ve got Tearaway. A game that I wouldn’t expect to find anywhere else for the moment except on the PS4.
That’s not to take a pot shot at the Xbox One, as it has a wide range of diverse games as well, but something as artistic and simple as Tearaway is what I associate with the PlayStation brand, having grown up with games like Crash Bandicoot and Jak and Daxter.
Tearaway is a game that I did not expect to enjoy, I’ll be honest. I haven’t read up much about it, and I’m not the most creative person in the world so I associated it mostly with the LittleBigPlanet series, which I haven’t played much of. However, when I was dropped into the paper-crafted world of Tearaway, I was instantly intrigued.
Media Molecule’s Tearaway reminded me so much of older classics that I had a sense of pure nostalgia while playing. Tearaway is a relatively simple game – a hole has appeared in the sky letting loose evil scraps of paper that have taken over the land and are terrorizing its inhabitants. As the Messenger, it’s your job to close the hole in the sky and save the world. As simple as the plot is, it fits perfectly within the game’s simplistic graphical design.
The world is beautiful and a joy to explore as you progress through the relatively linear storyline Tearaway has to offer. The paper-crafted world folds and bends, trees and grass sway in the wind, the colors vibrant and eye catching, and visually gives you the sense of adventure as you come upon new areas, of which there are quite a few. I travelled through luscious forests, open farmland and even an ice-covered mountain on my playthrough. There’re plenty more locations to discover, but if you’ve never played the game I’d rather not spoil it for you.
Extra content was added on to the game as well following the original ending, but it sort of breaks the adventurous flow the game originally had. Even without checking where the original ending was, as this was my first play through, there was a bit of a shred in the paper lining of pacing the game offered so perfectly through its original form. Not to say the extra content isn’t fun, but it could have been molded into the game a bit better.
Tearaway’s soundtrack is also quite a joy to listen to. There’s a wide range of music to be found in Tearaway that may surprise you in its diversity.
The gameplay is as simple as everything else in the game as well. As you progress through the game, it becomes more and more of a 3D platformer, with different tools that become available to you over time. As with any 3D platformer, you’ll be introduced to these tools one at a time until you reach a certain point where you start tying everything together and the platforming becomes increasingly complex.
Media Molecule also gives you plenty of options to go off the beaten path to find collectibles, take on little side-missions that have you crafting something a character needs by drawing it on the Dualshock 4’s touch pad, or taking a picture of a part of the world that has lost its color, or using the controller’s movement tech to cast a light in the game world. It’s simple, and adds some extra content to the game, but these are little more than extra distractions on your adventure.
My only gripe with Tearaway is the game’s combat, which is a little too simple for my tastes and a tad bit uninspired. To me, the combat feels included to add on some extra time to your playthrough to pad out the game, as it often breaks the flow of your adventure through the world. Not to mention it’s a little tedious at times. There are some sections later on in the game that are better and require some quick thinking, but overall I feel as if Tearaway could have done without combat altogether and just focused on platforming, or at least have had combat better designed.
For PlayStation 4 owners, Tearaway offers an experience that’s more in line with the games of old. It is a simple and gorgeous adventure which makes it a worthy addition to your collection of games. Tearaway is quite linear in nature, however, and can be beaten fairly quickly so with the amount of games coming out this year, this may be one you want to play later on for the sake of time and being able to actually enjoy it.