At EuroGamer 2013 I managed to get my hands on a working demo of the upcoming PSVita title Tearaway, the new IP from LittleBigPlanet developers Media Molecule.
I only played it for a short time but what I played impressed me.
You play as a small, enveloped-head character or “messenger” who is on a mission to deliver their message, you have a choice of male or female characters either Iota or Atoi, respectively. You traverse a world that looks like it’s made of scraps of material, mainly paper and card, extremely colourful and delightful to look at.
Whilst at the EGX I saw a screen explaining how Mm went about designing the game’s unique look and it actually involved a lot of paper crafting, origami and studying paper materials to get the look they wanted, and this is reflected when exploring the environment.
The section I played was interesting, being an adventure platformer, you would expect to be able to jump in order to navigate the many obstacles but no.
You cannot jump in Tearaway, you move from platform to platform by using the rear touch panel. You move your little character on to what appear to be drum skins that have the same pattern as the PSVita’s rear touch, you then tap (or beat the drum from the rear) and it bounces your character up.
I find it a clever design choice, to develop a platforming game where your character can’t jump on command.
As a third-person 3D platforming game there’s an element of exploration, the paper-craft world you live in is one of wonder and inhabited by little (and big) paper creatures whose designs come from the real-life works of origami that the developers made whilst working on the game.
As shown in trailers, in sections of the game you can “poke your fingers through” into the game and interact will mini games, which is an original and effective mechanic.
Another interesting addition to breaking the fourth wall is that you, the player, are the sun, a paper-craft window into the real world. I say window, I mean the front-facing camera captures your face in real time and shows you in the game, as if you are peering into the world through the handheld.
The front touch is used to open folded letters or pop-up book style characters that talk and give you objectives/progress the story.
I played a crafting section using the front touch, a squirrel in the game asks you to make a crown for him to wear, so you are given a sheet of yellow paper and some scissors.
Using the touch screen you then craft it, you freely cut out a shape of your choice, I chose a traditional “spiky” crown, I cut the shape using my finger and discarded the cut-off paper, I then placed my 2D creation on the squirrel.
This wackiness just oozes Media Molecule and I can’t help but wonder what other shapes and creations I must craft further into the game, not to mention the paper creatures I’ll no doubt meet.
I enjoyed what I played at EGX, before this I already decided to buy the game as it looked fantastic but after playing it and seeing that it works it’s a no-brainer for me.
After the fantastic Killzone Mercenary, I can’t wait to play this next ”must-have” for the Sony handheld as it’s the polar opposite to what Guerrilla Games has created so it will be a very refreshing change of genre for me.