E3 2013: Tearaway is a whimsical game that has me smiling

I didn’t have a lot of interest in Tearaway before E3, and I didn’t fully understand what kind of game it was. I’m not the biggest fan of LittleBigPlanet, and developer Media Molecule’s abstract game, Tearaway, didn’t have me extremely excited. Was it another creation game? I didn’t pay too much attention. However, after the first day at E3, the rest of Gamer Horizon came up to me and said, “You need to play Tearaway.” I got around to it at the Vita section of Sony’s booth on the second day, and I agree. You need to play Tearaway.

TearawayTearaway is a platformer that stars an assuming fellow named IOTA, who needs to get a letter to the sun. The sun in this case, is played by you, the player. Every time the sun is shown on screen, the Vita’s camera is used to show, well, you. Seeing it put me off guard in a refreshing way; you don’t really expect to see yourself in a game. You can also interact with the game world using all of the control features of the Vita. Touching the back panel of the Vita can make your fingers tear through weak parts of the world’s floor, or activate trampolines to launch IOTA upward.

Tearaway’s most salient point is its art style. Everything in the entire world looks like it’s made up from torn pieces of construction paper. Things in the environment, such as bridges, animate as if they were papercraft. It’s a calming, relaxing game that doesn’t feel too difficult, though players are rewarded for exploring with additional collectibles. Even combat can be easy. You just dodge enemies, and then pick them up when they tire and throw them away.

If I have anything negative to say about Tearaway, it’s that I don’t have as much freedom controlling IOTA as I’d like. I didn’t even get the ability to jump until almost the end of the E3 demo. I wanted to be able to do more with IOTA, and I couldn’t. Even so, this title is looking unique, which is a hard thing to say in 2013, and a great AAA title for a system that is rapidly becoming known for indie titles.

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