Tearaway Unfolded Review

Media Molecule, the creators of Little Big Plane 3 have done it again with this new but old game of beauty and imagination. The charm of Little Big Planet meets the wonderful world of paper craft in Playstation 4's Tearaway Unfolded.

Sony's latest remaster comes in the form of a complete overhaul of what I would call the most unlikely candidate for a remaster. Tearaway began its life on the Playstation Vita with an award winning reception on the Platform that Sony forgot. Tearaway was a well received game on Sony's forgotten child the Vita, which was built completely around the Vita and all of its control inputs which is why a port to the Playstation 4 seemed unlikely. Tearaway Unfolded on the Playstation 4 has undergone a complete rebuild of the whole game to make it all work with the Dual Shock 4. The original game is still here, but there is a lot added to take full advantage of the consoles power and the Dual Shock 4's inputs.

Tearaway Unfolded is a complete overhaul of the original Vita game, but the main game generally remains the same. You gain control of one of two messengers known as Aoti and Iota (depending on gender), and your ultimate goal is to make a journey to get to a tear in the sky in a beautifully designed paper craft world. Beyond the tear in the sky is "The You", which is actually you. This is the beginning of a massive "fourth wall" destroying game. With the tear in the sky, the characters within the game can see you, the player and the light that shines from the light bar on your Dual Shock 4 controller. Being so large in stature, the characters within the game see you as a God like heroine and worship you accordingly.

In the Vita version, you realise god like powers which involve you poking your fingers through the paper world via the rear touch pad on the Vita and moving things around on screen using the touch sensitive front screen of the Vita. The Playstation 4 obviously doesn't have those features but the developers have managed to use just about every single feature of the Dual Shock 4 when giving the player a number of powers and abilities to get through the games puzzles. For example, the first ability you will learn is that if you press either the L2 or R2 triggers, you will turn on a bright light that beams into the game in the shape of the light bar on the Dual Shock 4 controller. Using this light you can guide certain characters within the game and also provide light to activate/deactivate puzzles. Also, using the touch pad you can draw images that will be used within the game quite frequently, essentially making you one of the games artists. Another ability is another attempt at breaking that fourth wall by using your Messenger (player character) to pick up various throwable items in the game and tilting the controller upwards and pressing square will cause your Messenger to throw that item out of the television screen and into your controller. Once the item is in the controller you can shake it to hear it rattle around inside. Once you have done this you can aim using the 6-axis abilities and swipe up on the touch pad to throw the item with great pace back into the television.

Now it's not all colours and beautiful bliss, with all this pleasure comes along the evil in the game. Sneaking in through the tear in the sky are the games enemies known as Scraps. These little cubes with eyes run around the world turning lovely colours into drab newspaper textures which you can burn away using your light bar. You can also hypnotise the Scraps using the light bar which will cause them to react similar to a moth following a bright light. Once the Scrap has caught the gaze of the beautiful light, it will follow wherever you point your controller. To defeat them you can simply make them walk into several available dangers such as walking them off an edge, or guiding them under a heavy falling object.

Another ability is to create a gust of wind that will become a big part of the game. By swiping up, down, left or right on the Dual Shock 4's touch pad, you will create a powerful burst of wind in that direction. This can be used to send enemies of edges, or push them away from you but you will predominately use this feature to manipulate folded paper within the world. Curled up paper will appear to be useless until you hit it with a burst of wind to find that it unravels to become a nice platform for you to get across a ravine.

Even though I have touched on quite a few of the game's abilities that the player is afforded, there are still a whole lot more that I haven't mentioned. Tearaway Unfolded is a beautiful game and really comes to life on console. Accompanying the console version is the very first game that has piqued my interest enough to try out the second screen feature from the Official Playstation App on my iPad. If you connect your tablet or smart phone up to your console and go into the second screen section, you will gain the ability to draw your own shapes and import them into the game as confetti, take photos using the camera and use them as textures within the game on floors and walls, and also import photos you've already taken into the game. This can be fun and engaging for the young ones, or a disaster for adult deviates like myself. Although trivial in purpose, the second screen app does work fine but the usefulness appears to disappear quickly.

Tearaway Unfolded offers a family friendly experience with a story that is interesting and easy enough for the younger audience to understand. The game play isn't hard but will offer many challenges along the way in the form of optional collectibles that will put the player through tricky and hard puzzles to unlock them. Kids, in particular, will enjoy the way the game uses their own creations as a part of its design. I was impressed whenever I noticed something I'd drawn myself earlier, still appearing in the game as a part of the scenery, posters, or character parts.

There's a lot to do here and the "less than full retail" price tag is inviting at the least. If you've been fortunate enough to have played and enjoyed Little Big Planet 1, 2 or 3 then you will very much enjoy what you have here. Unlike Little Big Planet, Tearaway Unfolded is presented in a fully 3D world that you can explore until your hearts content.

I have enjoyed my time with Tearaway Unfolded and I look forward to handing the controller down onto my daughter for her to envelope herself in the world that embraces imagination. Thank you all for checking out my coverage of another excellent game from Sony and Media Molecule.

Lucas (LewkOne)

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