If you didn't know already, I don't think you'd tweak that Tearaway Unfolded started life on the PS Vita. As one of the handheld's premiere titles, Media Molecule made great use of in-built camera, touch screen and rear touchpad, yet now on PS4 it's as if it was meant to be here all along. The dev team has taken the Vita original and twisted it into its own, even more gorgeous, beast, with new content and excellent use of the DualShock 4. This hard work has made Tearaway Unfolded another fine PS4 exclusive.
To be clear, Unfolded is a retooling of the original 3D adventure platforming game, but a very good one. The basic story is the same, with the Messenger (an envelope on legs that is your playable character) needing to get to the crack that joins the virtual papercraft world and real world. Entirely new areas have been added, substantially lengthening the adventure, but elsewhere the experience is freshened up in a number of inventive and innovative ways.
I expected to be talking about how features in the Vita game had been shoehorned in to this PS4 port, but instead I'm going to talk about how the game is smart with its use of peripherals. The DualShock 4's touch pad is used in a variety of ways, most regularly to stir up gusts of wind that alter the environment and can blow irritating little enemies (scraps) off the map. It also acts as a button to handle jump pads and a drawing tablet for when you create things to place into the world - a task that a PS4 Camera and a tablet/phone also come in handy.
That often-annoying glowing shape on the rear side of the controller also ties into the gameplay, Unfolded pretending it's a shining light on the world and moved around using the pad's motion sensors. It's neat, once again interacting with the environment or being used as a weapon of sorts, hypnotising enemies so they can be guided to their doom. You can even throw items into your controller from inside the game world, then fire them back in to hit targets or take out enemies.
If you're a big fan of the Vita game then you might find the changes a little odd, but come in fresh (I'd only played about an hour of the original game well over a year ago) and everything will feel just right. The new areas, too, mostly gel with what was there before, although I did find the camera rather annoying inside a new quest-line that sees the PS4 controller being scientifically analysed as a way to control the virtual world, the scraps hatching some evil plan in the process. Other additions, such as paper planes that can be flown around certain areas, fit as if they were conceived back when the design docs were targeting the Vita.
Tearaway is a 3D platformer but it feels more like an adventure through a wonderful world, as if Pan's Labyrinth had been reimagined for children. In large open areas the art design really is something special, with massive structures looming in the distance while cute papercraft animals meander about, often sporting whatever insane accessories you've doodled for them to wear.
Plenty of work has also been done to make the visuals shine on PS4, with the frame rate mostly remaining very high, the resolution super sharp, and the environments gorgeous. On Vita, Tearaway wasn't a long game, lasting around seven hours. That has been bumped up considerably on PS4, which is a nice bonus given that Sony's charging less than the normal price for a PS4 release.
Considering what's gone into the conversion from Vita to PS4, Unfolded ranks as one of the best remasters released, exhibiting a clear sense of love of the property that simply isn't seen when many older games arrive on new systems. This is a lovely game, full of the kind of innovation, style, whimsy and care I'd usually associate with Nintendo's mainline titles. It absolutely deserves to be bought and enjoyed.
Second Opinion: David Scammell
Charming' may be on Burns' list of banned words, but there simply isn't a better way to describe Tearaway. From its delightful style to its intimate, personal tale of the Messenger, Tearaway is one of those games that always deserved to reach a far wider audience than it could ever achieve on PS Vita.
It is, to me, Media Molecule's greatest achievement, successfully blending creativity with unique input-based mechanics to create a wonderful 3D platformer that frequently brings a smile to your face. Each world is filled with the type of humour and personality you remember from platform games of old, revived with elements of customisation to give them a personal touch. And to be quite frank, the ending is handled so magnificently that it's worth playing for the uplifting, tear-jerking conclusion.
It's just a remarkably pleasant game to play, and while it may not push the boundaries of PS4, if you haven't yet played it, Tearaway is worth experiencing no matter the format.