What made the original Tearaway such a hit was that it was built completely for the Vita and all of it’s different quirky controls – the touch screen, the rear touchpad, etc. It was charming, intuitive, original and ultimately one of the best games ever made for the handheld. Does the PS4 version stack up? Find out after the jump.
Bringing that experience to the PS4 seemed like a long shot, given the paper-craft graphic style and the almost tailor-made use of the Vita’s unique control scheme. Sony surprised us all when they announced Tearaway Unfolded, the next-gen version on PS4, and frankly, I was skeptical that they could reproduce the charm of the original.
Unfolded not only captures what made the original special, but it also adds the crisp, high-res look and feel of a next-gen game. Textures look great, and the addition of the Dualshock 4 controls really feel natural.
In Unfolded you’re a god – a “You”, as in you the player – and you control either Iota (male) or Atoi (female), a messenger that needs to deliver an important message to, well…you. You’re tasked with guiding them through their world and clear obstacles/defeat enemies using the various tools at your disposal. Intuitive controls allow you to do things like blow enemies off bridges with a gust of wind or hypnotize them with a beam of light and have them walk off cliffs.
Ahh, the light beam. At first I couldn’t stand the thought of having to control anything with the gyroscope controls for long periods of time. But it works really well, in fact it might be one of the best uses of the motion controls I’ve used so far on the PS4. It feels tactile, and moves as you’d want it. It’s tight and you even have the option to recenter the light based on your hand position, giving you a custom range of motion.
And ultimately, that’s the beauty of Unfolded – the way it showcases the functionality of the Dualshock 4 controller, allowing you to interact with the environments and characters in ways you’ve never seen before. Tickle a squirrel? Check. Draw a picture? Check. You can even throw enemies into the controller and back. It really is remarkable. You can also create like never before, using the touchpad to create things like crowns for a king squirrel that he wears every time you see him, or snowflakes and butterfly wings that reappear again and again in the world. I can’t tell you how great it is to see something you created a few levels ago show up again later on when you’re not expecting it.
While creating is fun, the touchpad can be limiting due to its size. This can be fixed by downloading the companion app, which allows you – among other things – to use your iPad as a drawing board, giving you much more freedom to create the world you want in as much detail as possible.
What makes Tearaway Unfolded so charming is its paper-craft style. The entire world is folded, cut and glued together in such a way that makes it look entirely hand-made, and exploring it is a treat. You can also take in-game pictures of certain objects, head online to grab a print-out and craft a real-life version of in-game items and characters. It also features cute Minion-esque voice acting – mumbles and funny-sounding incomprehensible banter between characters. It’s cute and it works.
Tearaway Unfolded is certainly bigger and more complex than its predecessor. While charming and unique, I still missed things from the original like sticking your finger “through” the back of the Vita to chase bad guys away. The original felt like you were holding a world in your hands and controlling it, like you were peering in to the world of Iota through the Vita. The initial shock of the extent of your abilities to interact with the world is something that – having played the original – I can’t feel again. I knew what to expect in Unfolded. That being said, it was still a great game that is fun to play and appropriate for all ages. Kids will love the style and voices in-game, adults will love that the puzzles are hard enough to be frustrating and the beauty of the world and both will love the ability to literally create the world around them.
Overall Tearaway Unfolded was a great experience, it’s a beautiful game that really showcases the functionality of the Dualshock 4 controller. You’ll get lost in the world and have a blast navigating Iota through his journey. If you’ve played the original, you’ll like the next-gen look and feel of this one, if you haven’t, this is a perfect way to jump in and see what it’s all about. But play the Vita version too, it’s amazing (plus we need more Vita love)!.
Played it? Let us know what you think in the comments!