Platforms PlayStation 4 Genre Platformer
Publisher Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Developer Media Molecule
When Tearaway released on PlayStation Vita in 2013, Analog Addiction fell in love. Not only did we call it the “killer application” for the Vita, but we also expressed how this is an experience that couldn’t be replicated on any other platform. With that being said, Tearaway Unfolded brings an adaptation of the original release to the PlayStation 4. Though there are many similarities between each release, Tearaway Unfolded has been able to expand on the original in almost every way; though this isn’t always for the better.
Unlike most remasters that have been released throughout 2015, Tearaway Unfolded actually expands on the original release. Though the usual 1080p visuals and 60fps gameplay improvements of most remasters do exist here, Tearaway Unfolded goes above and beyond to re-craft the original experience for the PlayStation 4.
Tearaway Unfolded, much like the original, follows the story of Iota or Atoi delivering a message to you – the player. It’s a charming idea taking place in a wondrous world of beautiful colours. In the original release when a hole appears in the sky the Vita utilised the front facing camera to showcase the face of the player to the world below. Though Unfolded still allows you to utilise this ability, you need to have the PlayStation Camera in order to take advantage. This small detail removes a lot of the personal experience I felt within the original release, instead of having that personal touch, a simple white hole is seen; portraying a stark contrast in personal connection.
Aside from those issues, the story of Unfolded takes a few detours from the original, extending the experience. As much as I enjoyed these new areas, their inclusion sticks out like a sore thumb. These sections avoid the main story and send your Messenger on new detours, but they feel out of place and clunky in the overall narrative package. I loved Tearaway on Vita because I felt it was a complete and well delivered experience. However, Unfolded‘s new narrative additions instead make that experience overstay its welcome, which is due to the overuse of Tearaway‘s weak and annoying combat. Though Tearaway Unfolded delivers multiple enemy types, these encounters feel more like an annoying chore, rather than a test of your abilities. These moments happen way more often in Tearaway Unfolded compared to the original release, and this certainly made experience less enjoyable overall.
Instead of relying on the many features of the PlayStation Vita, Tearaway Unfolded utilises the many features of the DualShock 4 and uses them in ways no other developer has been able to deliver. The Lightbar is used to light up dark areas, the gyroscope is able to control your Messenger down tight platforms with precision, and the Touch Pad is able to deliver strong gusts of wind with a simple swipe. During the final act, every feature needs to be utilised in order to progress, and these moments truly allow Tearaway Unfolded‘s brilliance to shine. Media Molecule’s incorporation of the DualShock 4 within the game needs to be commended and it offers a glimpse of the possibilities Sony’s latest controller can deliver.
The DualShock 4 abilities are utilised in creative ways. For example, shaking the controller may loosen rocks that will fall to allow your Messenger to move over large chasms; or perhaps the darkness needs to be removed with the use of the Lightbar, though not every new feature works well. For instance, all your abilities to create new items in the world are now tied to the Touch Pad, and although it works well enough, the lack of space in comparison to the Vita is telling. Creating items is more cumbersome due to this lack of space, and there were many times where my creativity and design were hampered because my fingers accidentally were removed from the Touch Pad. Though tablets and smart phones can be made into a larger canvas with the use of a second screen application, the proper Touch Pad features don’t work as well as the Vita delivered in the original.
Many of the characters in the world will ask the player to create something, from snowflakes, crowns, crests and more. These small requests help bring that personal touch that the original delivered into Tearaway Unfolded. Every small adjustment you make to the world will have visual implications, and watching as your own beautifully designed snowflakes fall from the sky is only one of the many gorgeous moments Tearaway Unfolded is able to produce. Creativity and Tearaway Unfolded go hand and hand, creating a uniquely personal experience that will be different for every player.
Tearaway Unfolded looks absolutely incredible. The paper world of Tearaway looked amazing in the original, but the added 1080p visuals provide a drastic improvement. Every colour looks vibrant and the paper effects are used brilliantly to showcase rippling water and a running waterfall. The idea of creating an entire world out of paper may seem simple, but the implications are immense. Tearaway Unfolded has improved on the original visual showcase, creating a wonderful world that begs to be explored. Even the menus are given a pop-up book effect, and it’s pure genius.
One of Tearaway Unfolded‘s biggest flaws is the camera. Throughout my time with Tearaway Unfolded I continuously had to deal with a camera that would find the most awkward positions, get stuck behind the environment, and ultimately cost myself dozens of lives due to its poor ability to showcase the action. Aside from the technical problems with the camera, there were also a handful of frame rate drops throughout busy areas, while I also had to restart Tearaway Unfolded multiple times when I encountered a glitch that left my Messenger endlessly falling through the world. But overall Tearaway Unfolded ran smoothly for the majority of my dozen hour experience.
Tearaway Unfolded isn’t a simple remaster, it’s a newly crafted version of the original. There is enough new content here to justify those who loved the original to experience this new adaption; which is a box many remasters are unable to mark.
Media Molecule expertly utilises the DualShock 4 controller like no other developer, making each unique feature an integral part of Tearaway Unfolded; though not every new feature works as well as the original. The PlayStation 4 is also able to provide drastically improved visuals producing a beautiful paper crafted world.Unfortunately Tearaway Unfolded is still plagued by tedious combat situations and a poor camera.
Tearaway Unfolded is a charming game, one that deserves recognition for the unique experience it can deliver. Tearaway Unfolded gave me a sense of wonder and personal attachment that few games have ever delivered.
Utilises DualShock 4 in unique ways.
Creations have visual implications.
Gorgeous paper visuals.
Touch Pad creations.