Tearaway Unfolded Preview - Games Weekly

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Tearaway Unfolded Preview

Many old games get updated re-releases or ports to other systems. But where most ports get enhanced graphics and smoother frame rates, Media Molecule is pushing the boundaries of what constitutes a port by giving its Vita platformer a host of new mechanics tailored specifically to the PS4.

The original Vita game told the story of a cute anthropomorphic envelope and his journey through a papercraft world to deliver a special message to the player of the game. Along this journey, he battled with paper wad enemies called scraps and befriended local paper denizens as players customized the world around them.


While the overall premise and plot remain untouched, Media Molecule is making a lot of changes for the PS4 edition. Certain mechanics that involved using the Vita’s rear touchpad and touchscreen lose their potency when the game isn’t in your hands, so Media Molecule is replacing these systems with new mechanics and scattering new puzzles that leverage these mechanics around the world (see sidebar).

During a recent demo of the game, we were dropped into Maple Fields, one of the opening levels of the game. This area is about 50 percent larger on the PS4 than it was on the Vita, and the draw distance reaches much farther as well, giving the game a greater sense of scale. Media Molecule says each level also has a host of new areas and features a number of new collectible secrets.

While Media Molecule designed the Vita version to feel like a small world in the palm of players’ hands, the bigger console version acts like a world inside players’ TVs, which they interact with from a distance. Many of the new mechanics reflect this ideal.

For example, during our demo, the papercraft messenger threw a squirrel out of the TV and into our controller. Afterward, the controller started vibrating and we could hear the little creature squeaking from the speaker. When we swiped at the PS4 controller’s touchpad, the squirrel would throw nuts back into the game world. Using his winter stash, we knocked down a series of targets that opened up new paths for our messenger as she rolled down a series of pipes.

Media Molecule has extended the platforming challenge of Tearaway adding new platforming sequences to a game that was already great. In fact, the PS4 version of Tearaway looks different enough that we wouldn't blame some players for mistaking it for a proper sequel. Fans of the handheld version could have plenty of reasons to return to this platformer, and newcomers should have even more motivation to dive into this paper world for the first time.

Out With The Old
Given the differences between the Vita and PlayStation 4, several of Tearaway’s game mechanics are changing.

Out:  Finger popping The Vita version allowed you to touch the system’s back touchpad, sending your fingers into the world to move objects and knock enemies out of the way.

In: Creating wind By touching the PS4 controller’s touchpad, players can create gusts of wind that blow enemies and objects across  the  screen.

Out: Face time The Vita version made good use of the handheld camera, often putting a player’s face in the game. While Media Molecule might do some of this for players who own a PlayStation camera, the studio will tone down this element since it can’t rely on people owning a camera.

In: Light show The light on the bottom of the PS4 controller can shine into Tearaway’s world, allowing players to grow plants, light fires, and illuminate  darkened  corners.

Out:  Picture perfect The original game let players use the Vita’s camera to collect new patterns and import them into their papercraft world. This will no longer be possible on the  console  version.

In: Controller holding Tearaway’s messenger can throw objects at the player’s controller, and players can then throw these items back into the world in order to destroy environmental barriers.

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