Tearaway really makes me feel warmest and fuzziest inside (yes, me, a man who openly confesses to never understanding Nintendo, and who is most at home when he’s shooting other men in the face in Battlefield 4) when I’m being asked to draw and cut-out a crown to stick on a squirrel’s head, using Vita’s touch-screen. I put little jewels on the crown and everything.
My only gripe with the ‘crafting’ options in game is that they’re a little limited. At one point you’re asked to draw and cut-out a snowflake. Once produced, your snowflakes (the one you shaped like a penis, because you could) gently fall from the sky during the course of an entire snow-themed level. It’s a wonderful moment but, sadly, it’s a rarity--the rest of the game limits customisation to sticking random items on in-game characters, taking photos of textures, or creating decorations to slap onto Iota him/herself. Tearaway lacks some of the real player-created wow-factor that made LittleBigPlanet such a phenomenon.
It’s a little short too. The game lasts around 5 hours, even if you’re carefully hunting for hidden presents and papercraft items, and dying at any point really is a non-event. Fell off a ledge? Oh well, just try the jump again. Looking for a hidden present? Oh, it’s just around the corner, off-camera. Fair enough--Tearaway would lose much of its charm if it hammered players with brutal platforming and stern puzzles, but I did find myself wishing for more complexity as I played through.
However, the low price really balances out concerns about length. It’s £20/$40, which is great value for something that gives every aspect of your Vita a workout while making you smile the whole time. Will you play through more than once? Probably not, unless you’re hunting for papercraft items. Ooh, that reminds me… Value is extended a little further if you log in to Tearaway.me, which--among other things--lets you download papercraft designs that you’ve collected in-game. Yes, you can actually make every character from Tearaway in real paper, and sit them proudly on your desk / mantelpiece / fireplace. Hmm, actually, best not sit them on your fireplace…
Tearaway really is the game Vita has been crying out for. It feels like a bridge between indie and traditional, super-polished AAA game design, something reinforced by both the length of the story and the price. There’s genuine charm and ingenuity here, and my only real criticism is that I want more of it. So will you, when you put yourself in the centre of Tearaway’s magical world.