Ah, the weird and wonderful world of console exclusives. They’re definitely here to stay too, much to the woe of anyone who doesn’t own a console that has…. certain exclusives… did that sound awkward? I’m trying not to offend anyone here! One such console exclusive is Tearaway, released on PS Vita in November of 2013. Tearaway was a fantastic game that made great use of the Vita’s features. The gyroscope, touchpads, and cameras were all wonderfully utilized in it. I made nice faces for the camera as you can see in this screenshot.
Being the video game fanboy that I am and seeing all the great reviews, I picked it up at launch and was captivated by it. It felt right at home on a portable, and the pacing and gameplay was top notch. Unfortunately, the game sold poorly and Sony ended up abandoning the Vita’s first party efforts in favor of the PS4.
Fast forward a year to GAMESCOM 2014. The Vita on life support, and the PS4 booming, (I had only recently gotten one in July of that year) the world’s gamers watched, on the edge of their seats, as Sony and MediaMolecule unveiled Tearaway Unfolded! It had some major changes, mostly being expanded from its Vita release with all new areas, and a shift of focus from the Vita’s camera and back touchpad to the DualShock 4 and its new features. It also didn’t require an expensive PlayStation camera (I’m still waiting for it to go on sale because fuck that noise) which was nice.
I did take note of how you could throw objects into your controller and shake them around. It seemed nice, even though I was and am still bitter about how Sony throws the Vita under the rug. Fast forward a few months of waiting to September 2015. I went to GameStop and picked up Tearaway Unfolded alongside MGS4 (at $5 I couldn’t resist), Forza Motorsport 6, and Until Dawn. It was a nice haul, but only recently did I get around to Unfolded, and boy Platniuming it was quite a wild ride!
MediaMolecule not only expanded on the customization and crafting mechanics from the original Tearaway but added new ways to get your creative streak goin’! You can use the Playstation companion app on iOS and Android (or use Second Screen on PS Vita, though Sony doesn’t want you to as it doesn’t mention it ingame) to craft masterpieces on your phone or even import images into the game, I inserted porn and Xbox One logos along with other memes into the game and had fun plastering them on NPCs.
I thought Tearaway on Vita looked fantastic, pushing the device to its limits and involving a huge 3D world that would have not been possible on PS3 or PSP, but Sony uprezzed the graphics even more in Unfolded. Pressing R2 activates the Guiding Light, which looks fantastic on PS4 and creates a freaky shadow. (PS4 does what Vitadon’t? I think I’m gonna go cry now.) The particle effects and lighting are spot on, making for some gorgeous setpieces. Unfortunately, the finicky controls and camera angles screw up some of the more tricky platforming and combat sequences and challenges. However, as a plus, the soundtrack serves its purpose very well, I particularly like the Gopher combat course theme in The Lab chapter as it sounds very 80s.
There are literally thousands of collectibles in Tearaway Unfolded, and with my new drive for achievement/trophy completionism, I had to search up guides – some in German – to find some of these pesky confetti and present collectibles. The most annoying challenges had to be the much-buzzed Misplaced Gopher challenges, the Giblet Hill/The Tear/Between the Pages challenges had me trying for hours to get the damn gopher home. But, I prevailed!
As proven by the scrap soccer league, you can’t stump the Trump. (P.S. - You can name the baby Wendigo (who I named after the terrible GOP canidate Donald Trump) and the frustrating Misplaced Gopher (who I appropriately named Ass cream) as well)
Anyway, Tearaway Unfolded, despite looking like a shallow kids game, has a ton of replay value and longevity/challenge to keep even hardcore players going for a long time. However, the plot is horribly boring and badly written, and the pacing has been severely hurt from the Vita version as oftentimes levels will just hop into sight with no explanation of how you got there or anything, it’s quite baffling how botched the pacing became in Unfolded and how much that detracts from the still-stellar replay value. In fact, the game makes just about as much sense played in random order as it does in default order.
Unfortunately, lightning stuck twice with Tearaway Unfolded. Much like the Vita’s Tearaway back in 2013, Unfolded sold terribly in the charts worldwide even DESPITE the PS4’s constantly skyrocketing audience of 35 million and counting. It’s a damn shame because despite its flaws Unfolded is an improvement over the original Tearaway (despite the pacing I managed to stick through it for 3 weeks until I 100%ed it) and should be played by anyone who enjoys 3D platformers or owns a PS4.
Tearaway Unfolded is 7.5/10 - Good!