Tearaway Unfolded, from developers Media Molecules, is perhaps best described as a tribute to paper in all of its folding, tearable, pretty origami-style forms, but please bear with me as I’m aware that this description doesn’t necessarily make you jump for joy and glee and excitement. It should though, and if you’ll give me just a minute I’ll explain why…
The astute amongst you may have noted already that this incarnation of the game takes as its basis the “Tearaway” game which was released for Vita in 2013. It was lauded then, and it should indeed be lauded now. The changes made have only served to enhance it for the bigger platform and so the world presented in the game is bigger and more open, and the graphics are much improved. It has also made excellent use of the DualShock 4 controller’s features – so, for example, holding the shoulder buttons allows you to shine a light over the land in order to open up pathways, activate switches or stun your enemies. It’s hard to imagine this wee messenger having enemies, but I’m sad to report it does, so beat them and stun them you must. Fun sounding ‘bounce pads’ can be activated by pressing the touch pad, which can then be swiped in any direction to create powerful wind gusts. Ah ha! Your enemies are the Scraps so wind gusts sound like just the thing to help deal with them! See, I’m getting the hang of this before I’ve even started. There is also a companion app which works will in conjunction with the game itself. Although it’s an enhancement of the Vita version, it really does feel like more than that, so well have the developers adapted it for the bigger and better capabilities of the PS4.
If you’re unfamiliar with any of this, either the current version or its predecessor, the game is a third-person perspective adventure game and is based around the premise that television and (ironically) all other screen-based activities just don’t cut it (pardon the pun) when it comes to entertainment. You are thus invited by the narrator to take the proffered envelope shown you in the introduction, also known as “the messenger”, assign it an identity (of sorts, I mean it’s an envelope for goodness sake) and set off on your adventure. Your duty is to help your little messenger take and deliver his/her message to the world, whilst avoiding or defeating the enemies who are invariably known as Scraps. There is even a section where the developers have cleverly made as if there are little bad guys hidden inside your controller – this does sound a little strange but unique and intriguing all the same.
There is, perhaps, something lost in the transition from Vita to PS4 as a lot of the original appeal lies in the intimacy which was created first time around. Certain elements which have been retained simply don’t work quite as well, such as the ability to draw your own shapes which can then be used as in-game objects – it’s just clumsier to do this on the PS4 than on the Vita. The developers should be commended, however, on trying to maintain everything that worked, and the actual graphics are vastly improved so even if your drawings are clumsier, at least they’re sharp and colourful…
The developers have continued to do a fabulous job in making sure this game appeals to wide-eyed and innocent children as well as nostalgic adults who like to hark back to an age when the phrase ‘push the envelope’ actually meant something. Ah, paper, how we love thee (she says, writing this review with neither paper, pen nor pencil).
Rating – 8.5 / 10
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