For us, it was the highlight of the murky question mark that was Sony’s Gamescom presentation. Announcing a brand new IP for PS Vita, ripped from the doodling-minds of the LittleBigPlanet devs, welcome to the world of ‘Tearaway’. A papery paradise showcasing an origami-fuelled landscape.
So you ‘play’ as Iota, described by MediaMolecule as an ‘adventurer from another dimension’. Because that doesn’t sound generic in the slightest. Regardless, the lad has a letter for a head. He may look slightly odd, but of course he oozes the cute factor that MM lovingly crafted with other characters, mainly the million variations of dearest Sackboy.
So gameplay-wise, you’re a God. Yeah, that’s right – using the Vita’s touchscreen to poke and prod the landscape alters the papery wilds. See a bridge that needs extending – POKE. A drum to bounce Iota to new heights – PROD. You get the gist. The most surprising (if not hilarious) aspects were showcased when Iota collapsed a bridge, falling into a cunning trap set by the baddies. All seemed lost.
But your greatest weapon in this game is touch. Just feel-up the Vita’s rear touchscreen, and your fingers ERUPT into Iota’s world, propelling enemies (and most of the game world too) across the screen. MM really wanted to emphasise this gameplay feature and concept of ‘Tearaway’ – A fusion of our world with Iota’s. By interacting with each other, jobs get done and progress made. And it looks bloomin’ fun, not to mention beautiful.
Come the end of the gameplay demo, we were treated to a montage of additional features that just took the concept… well just a bit far. A moose-like animal needs a coat, and enlists Iota for the task. So gamer, take a picture of a texture that you consider ‘coat-like’ using the Vita’s cam, and hey presto – you’ve got a moose-like animal covered in… polkadots. Bit weird, bit tacked on. Then came the ‘blowhorn’, which asked the player to ‘yell’ into the microphone, blowing enemies off-screen. Yeah, because if I’m on a bus playing Tearaway, I want to yell ‘DIE DIE DIE’ at my lap. Not going down that road again.
Regardless of these minor qualms, the game looks amazing and MM has actually done an excellent job so far. It’s got the charm of LBP, great gameplay and looks, plus it’s about time the Vita got a few decent game in it’s future (anyone else stifle a scream when they showed Call of Duty – Black Ops Declassified?). Anyway, let’s hope this title continues to doodle it’s way to victory!