Imagination is Tearaway’s genius. Don't be fooled by its core simplicity: its inventive approach to puzzles, platforming and storytelling make it one of, if not the, best game on the Vita, and one of 2013’s most unforgettable adventures.
Inspired design is found in every sheet of this papercraft world. Unlike the Lego games, which weld plastic bricks with nature and infrastructure, every single inch of Tearaway has been folded, cut or stuck into place. Waterfalls cascade down cliffs, folding as they go. Paper strips breeze lightly over the golden desert sandpaper. It’s awesome, in the truest sense of the word.
Like with LittleBigPlanet, developer Media Molecule has placed player creativity at the forefront of the experience, but Tearaway is a genuine delight even without the game’s deep (if slightly imprecise) touchscreen customisation suite. With a lengthy 10-hour story, you’ll visit distinct lands, from deserts to jungles and sea-battered harbors. All of this to reach 'The You' – your own face, captured by Vita’s front facing camera and imposed in the game’s sun.
There are also a fair few hidden collectibles to find. They’re not vital, but make playing through again even more worthwhile.
Not that you’ll need an excuse to revisit: the adventure is magnificent, with Media Molecule's focus on using the various inputs ('pushing' your fingers through the world via the rear touch pad, for example) adding to what is already an excellent platformer. Its only real issue is a slight sag in the middle portion, but the quality is nonetheless high; the game simply settles into a gentle rhythm. Once it begins to build to a monumental crescendo in the final third, it will consistently amaze until the beautiful final scene, which is delivered with such delicacy that it makes for one of the most memorable story endings of the year.
Tearaway is a beautiful title. It represents the importance of stories, manages to create friendships, and is capable of exciting and entertaining regardless of its simplicity.
Completed main story in 10 hours. Then spent a while making myself paper hats.