January is traditionally a quiet time for new games releases. It's also a great opportunity to catch up on games you missed during the pre-Christmas avalanche.
The game at the top of my must-play list over the holidays was Tearaway for the PlayStation Vita, and it certainly didn't disappoint.
We are used to playing games with paper-thin plots, but in Tearaway literally everything is made of paper.
Far more than a throwaway gimmick or aesthetic novelty, the makers of LittleBigPlanet fully embraced the papercraft ethos of Tearaway and created a handheld adventure that is unique, enchanting and the highlight of the Vita’s nascent library.
Even the game’s protagonist is made of paper and can be customised during the journey with pre-made decorations or your own creations crafted from various bits of coloured paper using virtual scissors and glue.
You can also customise many of Tearaway’s other inhabitants and print and assemble real-life papercraft models collected during your adventure.
Cleverly, the game places your own smiling face on the surface of the sun thanks to the Vita’s front-facing camera and there are constant references to your God-like influence.
As a benevolent power, you can unfold useful paths or platforms with a flick of your finger on the touch-screen, dispatch mischievous enemies by poking them, move barriers by tilting the console, and make our diminutive hero fly into the air by prodding the console’s rear touch-sensitive panel.
The way your finger seems to burst through the game world is a particularly wonderful illusion, and it’s used for puzzles as well as combat.
You are also often asked to create an object out of paper, take a photo or record a sound.
You very much feel like you have a significant influence on creating Tearaway’s delightful world rather than just being a passenger along for a ride.
The game’s camera doesn’t always show the best view of the action, but it’s only a minor inconvenience.
The only significant grumble from players is likely to be that this hugely pleasurable and magical romp is all over a little too soon (complete with poignant ending) although there’s plenty of incentive to return.
What have you been playing lately?
- Jason Hill