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Review: Tearaway Unfolded

Tearaway Unfolded is a different kind of remake or remastering. Actually a better word would be remix. Yes, it’s been remade for PS4. Yes it displays in 1080p and runs at 60fps. Yes there is new content. But in reality this is a remix of a PS Vita game. Sections have been added, lengthened, moved and slightly redesigned. New mechanics and God powers have been added which take advantage of the DualShock 4 and they certainly liven up proceedings, but in the end, this is the same excellent Vita game we say two years ago; albeit with a shiny new coat of paint and some extra grunt under the hood.

Tearaway Unfolded follows the story of a world made of paper given life by stories, where the inhabitants have grown bored with the tales they know and want to hear something new.  An envelope appears in the world, addressed to one of the You’s – that’s you, by the way. From a paper-person’s point of view, the Yous are godlike figures that stare down at them from the face of the sun (a neat trick that utilises the PlayStation Camera to insert you into the game). The envelope comes to life in the form of Iota or Atoi, a male or female messenger based on your preferences whose mission is to deliver themselves to you. Or You, if you want to give in to the god complex the game warmly encourages you to embrace.

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While Tearaway on Vita was a fun title that did its best to take advantage of all of the Vita’s gimmicks for its gameplay in a truly fun way, Unfolded is much more a traditional platformer. There are some touch and motion control gimmickry thrown in, but in general the controls work much better on the DualShock than on the Vita. New God powers include creating gusts of wind by swiping the touch pad and throwing projectiles (including enemies and NPCs) into the screen so that ‘You’ can launch them back into the world. Alongside your godly contributions, your messenger engages in some relatively basic platforming work, roaming each area to find hidden presents, solve some minor puzzles and collect Confetti to unlock customisation options and camera filters, so you can get your papercraft-Instagram on.

Visually the game is rich and a joy to move around in. On Vita the title was very pretty and truly pushed the handheld to create a vibrant, colourful world. On PS4 however, thanks to Media Molecule’s dedication to recreating much of it from scratch, Unfolded is truly gorgeous. Not in the melt your eyeballs with photorealism gorgeous, but even more than before does this world look handcrafted. Thanks to the added power of the PS4 Unfolded runs at 1080p and a silky smooth 60fps. As you’d expect, the entire world is made of cut, curled and constructed paper.

There are fun little extra touches throughout as well; occasionally there will be kinks in the paths that have been glued down for you to follow, or corners of things that have come unstuck and curl up, sticking down when you walk over them but inevitably popping up again. The depiction of water is gorgeous as well – walking through water produces little ripples from your feet made out of cut-out rings of paper.

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The customisation is one of the more creative parts of the game – occasionally you’ll be asked to design something for the game to use, like a crown for the Squirrel King or a new moustache for the guy who inexplicably lost his moustache. These segments give you a selection of coloured papers, scissors and time. You can cut and assemble different elements to build anything you want, which then get integrated into the game world. Each item you design is then saved to reuse whenever you like.

At any time you can also redesign your messenger by adding or removing their facial features, and add extra flourishes both unlockable and custom-created. On Vita you’d use the touchscreen to draw and create whereas on the PS4 you draw directly onto the touchpad. It’s definitely a step back and while not an integral part of the experience, creating new objects happens often enough for the clumsiness to grate.

As far as gripes go, there aren’t many. Some of your messenger’s abilities are dealt out slower than is ideal, with the ability to jump only unlocked after finishing the first two zones of the game. It’s frustrating to not be able to jump in all that time (beyond instances where you can knock them around with the rear touchpad), and given the game fits the platformer genre it’s odd to not have this from the beginning. That said, Iota/Atoi does discover the ability to jump by concertina-folding their legs, so points for cuteness. Combat is pretty basic as well, mainly just involving a stun-and-throw loop for the Scraps that attack you as you travel. The enemies are presented made of rough newspaper material in contrast to the game world’s rich construction paper colours, so points for style again.

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Tearaway Unfolded is somewhat longer than its Vita companion and with some of the scenes re-ordered, additional ones thrown in and the new powers associated with the PS4 there’s lots to do and see, even if you’ve played the original. That being said, unless you’re a massive fan of the original there’s not really any point re-playing, that is unless you’re desperate for a platformer on your PS4.

There’s limited replay value in unlocking all the decorations and finding all the hidden items in each zone and while the new levels and content extend the experience, it’s going to be over in 8-10 hours. Nevertheless, Tearaway Unfolded is a fun ride while it lasts, and shows that Media Molecule is more than a one-hit wonder. It’s the definitive version of the title so comes highly recommended for those who missed it on Vita.

Tearaway Unfolded’s review is an amended version of our review of Tearaway on PlayStation Vita. This amended review was completed using a promotional code on PlayStation 4, as provided by the publisher.

 

Review: Tearaway Unfolded
8.5 out of 10

The good

  • Tearaway remade for PS4
  • Makes use of PS4 features
  • Looks and plays great
  • Budget price

The bad

  • Nothing to recommend to previous Vita players
  • Some players will find much of the title gimmicky

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About the author

DeltaPhoenix08

About the author

Matt Gosper

aka Ponk – a Melburnian gay gamer who works with snail mail. Enthusiastically keeping a finger in every pie of the games industry. I'll beat you at Mario Kart, and lose to you in any shooter you can name.