Tearaway Unfolded: A love letter to the Playstation 4 controller


Tearaway was originally a title for the under-appreciated Playstation Vita handheld console. Media Molecule, the developer, hasn’t just decided to do a simple port of the game onto the Playstation 4 for a speedy cash grab, but rather has rethought the whole game which all revolves around the PS4 controller.

Everything in the world of Tearaway is made of paper. Like the creations of a crazed origamist, the mountainous landscapes and dark forests in Tearaway all look like they are made of intricately folded sheets of the stuff. That even goes as far as your character. Playing as an anthropomorphic letter, it’s your job to deliver a message to yourself, the actual player in the real world. As part of the narrative, if you have a camera for the PS4 you’ll regularly see yourself transported into the game as you slovenly slouch on the sofa. It’s a nice, if somewhat visually unappealing touch.

Your enemies vary from dangerous crows that hinder your progress to scraps of card that attack furiously. To fight them you need to use every feature of the PS4 controller. Dark scenes can be illuminated by the light from the controller following your real-world physical movement. To get to unreachable platforms, tapping on the touchpad will make you bounce higher. When under attack from the scraps of card, swipes on the touchpad will bring gusts of wind to carry your enemies to their doom. This ability to cause powerful gusts of wind also allows you to unfurl curled paper bridges and to remove barriers to access new areas. Your character can also pick up items and virtually toss them through the TV screen so you can aim at targets within the game using the motion sensors in the controller.

The soundtrack to the game is straight out of Blackadder. All kazoos and horn instruments… and it works perfectly. Everything in the Tearaway world is either kooky or odd. The paper style visuals are both beautiful and weird, the puzzles are inventive and rewarding, and while the gameplay isn’t exactly tough, it does offer enough challenge to be enjoyable. The variety of control methods also show just how under-used the PS4’s controller is by most titles. Overall, Tearaway shows just what can be done with a little imagination and overall the game is a triumph of creativity.

Media Molecule
Playstation 4
£31.99 (7+)