Tearaway Unfolded – Review
Tearaway Unfolded begins much like the average Tuesday night of everybody in Australia; flipping through television channels and finding nothing to watch. However, unlike a Tuesday night which ends in bitter disappointment about having to go to work the next day, Tearaway only gets better- not worse.
The game sees the two narrators trying to find something on television to inspire them to tell you, the gamer, a story, but due to the lack of interesting content on the tube (much like real life!), they begin to make up their own… and go a little nuts with it. And thus enters the gamer, taking control of either a female or male messenger to save the day from the crazy crap and evil monsters the story tellers dream up. As hero of the universe, your job is to direct the messenger through the recently opened hole in the sky (I told you the narrators went a bit nuts) to deliver a message to you, the gamer.
Being a Media Molecule title, the game was always going to be cute and upbeat, but I wasn’t prepared for just how amazing everything was going to look until I was actually in the world. The paper crafted universe is put together so beautifully and vibrantly, reminiscent of the stunning scenery we’ve seen the developer deliver before. Due to the immersive atmosphere, running around the world is a lot of fun and exploring the nooks and crannies is just one more thing to do as you race around trying to get that 100% completion achievement. Accompanying the world is a soundtrack of mellow music perfectly fitted to the atmosphere. Upbeat when it needs to be and suitably sombre and scary in others; music is another big tick against this title.
Now onto the important bits; gameplay. Tearaway Unfolded perfectly leverages the Playstation 4’s touchpad, motion controller and light bar to bring an intuitive new control scheme to the title. It was pleasing to see the controls translate to perfectly across from PS Vita to the console, and picking them up was simplistic and easy. The use of the control scheme helps to establish a constant link between the world and the gamer, and works well in keeping you immersed in the story. The only disadvantage I found with the Playstation 4 was when it came time to draw items to place in the world. No matter how hard I tried (and I tried hard) I couldn’t get a crown to look right on a Squirrel King, and all my snowflakes looked like tiny squiggles of white crap. Drawing these on the PS Vita screen was worlds easier, however I did get a good laugh out of the appalling pictures I managed to turn out.
Much like the stuff we’ve seen from Media Molecule before, Tearaway Unfolded delivers witty writing and strong narration to guide you through the story. However, as funny as some of the dialogue is, there do come times when you want it to stop so you can continue on with the story. Or, alternatively, you want them to shut up because all they’ve done is lie to you when they tell you you’ve almost reached your objective, only to throw another puzzle your way and screw you over. I don’t know where the narrators learned their storytelling skills from, but it involves throwing a lot of obstacles at my poor little messenger and if you ask me, that’s just a bit of a dick move.
Luckily not all the characters in the game are as long winded as the narrators; with most of them being pretty cute and funny. Along the way you’ll meet helpful squirrels, weird looking giraffes and a couple whose date night you can completely ruin by throwing apples at them. Which I did. I threw apples at everything, because why not? It’s these little creatures who really made the game for me, being genuinely helpful when I needed it. Because I loved them so much I may have accidentally caused displacement of an entire family of gophers, simply by carrying them with me wherever I went. I carried one through a whole level, just because the game let me, which I thought was fantastic. I called him Larry and we had so many memories…. until I accidentally threw him off a cliff. But we don’t talk about that.
Overall, Tearaway Unfolded is exactly what you would expect from a Media Molecule title. It’s vibrant and funny, quirky in all the right places and narrated by lovely characters who just need to learn to shut the hell up sometimes. This game satisfied both the adult in me that sought an entertaining game, and my inner child who delighted in being able to throw gophers at bad guys and take pictures of herself to plaster around the universe. A definite recommendation for the young and young at heart.