While the PlayStation Vita might have been a failure by all accounts, there is two points about the system that can never be argued. One, there were some really good or clever games on the system, and two, it had some really good features. In the latter department though, these clever features did not really get the look in that they deserved having only a handful of games that made use of them, but undeniably these games were certainly full of quality. One of the strongest examples of the Vita merging its excellent features with a good game is Tearaway, this game embraced its platform and offered more to the player then they might have realised the Vita was capable of. It now comes to a point of wondering, in a game so solidly built for the Playstation Vita can an updated transition to Sony’s PlayStation 4 capture the spirit of the original?
Tearaway lived for its system, it was a game built with all the Vita’s features in mind and used them to show what the Vita was made of while also being the systems swan song. In moving to the PlayStation 4, some things had to be changed, and others had to reworked to work with the PlayStation 4’s Dualshock 4 controller. What was created is one of the finest uses of Sony’s updated controller to date! I have seen few games that masterfully use the touch pad on the controller to such a degree and this is what makes the game work, even if this updated release does bring with it a handful of new issues.
One of the first things I noticed with this release was a major annoyance, in the Vita game, the systems camera was used to plant your own face in the game. As part of the stories plot, a hole in the universe of Tearaway was ripped open which opened the door to our world, through this we are supposed to be able to see ourselves which was of the advantages Vita release where the system featured the camera. In Unfolded we require a separate peripheral in the form of the Playstation Eye to be able to get the full experience, it is a small issue but one that does make a big deal when you consider the story. It just isn’t that enjoyable just seeing a white circle that is supposed to be important, and this is made worse when the game wants the player to be connected to the world in its entirety.
Thankfully this was my biggest issue with the game as everything else transitioning relatively well. The Vita original made real use of the systems touch features, something that in the case of the PlayStation 4 has only been used in more of a gimmick sense. Tearaway Unfolded transitions the features of the original game and actually makes use of the controls specific features to great effect. Most of the gameplay elements have been adapted to the uses of the touch pad with only minor changes made, these minor changes don’t really matter to the core experience as what is necessary has been incorporated to making one of the systems most refined and inviting games.
Many of the game's features are unlocked at a steady pace as you progress through the story, every so often the game will regularly reveal a whole new ability which then proves helpfull throughout the rest of the game. These abilities range from things as silly and simple as jumping, to the unique gameplay uses made by the controller. In the case of the touch pad you gather the ability to press the button when standing on certain spaces to activate bounce pads. Or, you can control the wind with a simple swipe across the pad, the wind in the game will then pick up and blow accordingly to the direction you swiped.
All of this added to constantly evolving gameplay which made it hard to ever get bored, just as something was starting to grow stale a new idea would arise allowing for new opportunities. Out of all the abilities afforded by the game I found the wind ability to be the most enjoyable, not only is it an excellent use of the touch pad, as well as a great showing of how good it is at tracking your finger, it also offered the most room for fun in general. This ability made the world even brighter by offering room for thoughtful puzzles making me think about how best to direct wind in order to progress in the game, it was also a clever part of the combat system being used to stun enemies as well counter certain parts of their attacks.
All the specific abilities used in the game via the touchpad can often even be adopted into combat, while our character does not have any real attacks, we can learn to balance some of our special controller abilities to help succeed in any situation. Enemies are simplistic but often require close thought and consideration in order to beat them, paying close attention to when to send out a gust of wind, or even make use of a light to lure enemies to their death, or sometimes lure them on to a bounce pad. Although I admit combat does grow stale after a while.
With Tearaway Unfolded, I can’t deny that once I got past the opening I was having a good time. However, there was one more issue born from the games length. On many occasions you receive endings that are complete fake outs, for the first two times this is fine and it worked with the game. But there came a time where I did just want the game to end, by the last fake ending the game was beginning to drag out, while this is all part of the story this still was a frustration that really dampened my experience. I understand having a message, or telling a story but Tearaway Unfolded just outstays its welcome a little too long.
But speaking of story, I did actually quite like what was going on, Tearaway Unfolded tells the story of Iota a messenger sent to deliver a message to You (basically the hole in the sky), through this story Iota must face many hardships and it boils down to a message of belonging, and of course simply doing what the game is about, telling a story. The basic story is a bit over the top and occasionally all over the place but the game does what it sets out to do, it tells the story of Iota and his struggles to deliver his message to You.
Tearaway Unfolded is a stunning game on the Playstation 4, back on the Vita it had a certain quality to it which was still beautiful and impressive but the game just shines that slight bit brighter on the television screen. Overall, characters just look better and the world shines with a slight bit more charm that impressed me with every detail, to be honest there is nothing quite like watching a paper craft waterfall, it is just magical. I have to say I am truly impressed with Media Molecule’s graphical effort here, the design could not have been easy but, they pull it off wonderfully as a fluent world and by design which simply complements the gameplay. Undoubtedly Tearaway Unfolded is at its best on the Playstation 4, and the system does not have a better looking game.
The few faults that Tearaway Unfolded does have are very much minor, it’s a shame they could not find a way to make certain features work without the Playstation Eye (which is another irrelevant piece of hardware) but this can be forgiven. Tearaway Unfolded is filled to the brim with clever ideas that make the controller shine and show off what it really can do, wonderful characters, and a beautiful world that only Media Molecule could bring to life in such a great fashion. If you missed the original Vita game then be sure not to miss this gem of a game, Tearaway is an experience and a story that is hard to forget.