LittleBigPlanet‘s developer Media Molecule branded adorable characters in the current-generation consoles when they introduced us to Sackboy and friends. In the same vein of indie title Derrick the Deathfin, Tearaway is made entirely of paper… and it looks awesome.
Similar to LittleBigPlanet, Tearaway is a 3D platformer except it lacks the extensive customization options. Instead players will be able to take photos and apply them as textures to certain locations or customize the game’s main protagonists. Choosing between Iota, or his female paper counterpart, Atoi – you will embark on a quest to deliver a message in an envelope (aka your head) through a semi-open world. The entire world is composed of paper — flower petals curl like ribbons, paper towel tubes are used as hallways, and a dabs of glue allow you to walk on walls.
The game’s director, Rex Crowle, says the inspiration for Tearaway came from the “titanically messy desks” at Media Molecule, some of which were filled with piles of rubbish. Media Molecule wanted to realize that concept with a game “world that’s really tactile and touchy-feely.”
But Iota and Atoi won’t be the only ones physically interacting with the world as players can interact with the environment like a “god” thanks to the Vita’s front touchscreen and rear touch pads. You can dip your fingers into the environment and bust through the paper barriers, manipulate various objects and clear away paths by peeling away sheets of paper.
“I wanted to make something that felt at home in your hands, that was tactile, but also personal to you,” says Crowle. “I wanted there to be a relationship between the you inside the game and the you outside. We latched on to paper as a material that bound those things together.”
One of the levels recently revealed at a Sony event in Hollywood was Sogport, an isolated sea port, populated by fishermen, and hugely inspired by folk tales and sailor songs. The area is surrounded by a toxic gluey ocean, and the landscape takes in both the fishing village and a dense forest, filled with mythical monsters known as Wendigos. While Sogport’s deep rivers and reservoirs of glue are fatal should Iota or Atoi fall in, a light smearing of glue on the environment allows the paper messengers to stick to walls and ceilings, leading to some clever level design.
Tearaway has lots of appealing and creative uses of paper – both inside and outside the game. Cutscenes are entirely interactive as you flip the pages, you’ll see tabs to swipe and other buttons that manipulate the scene, making the storytelling feel like an interactive pop-up book. The sense of interplay between reality and the game extends to the game’s clever ‘trophy’ system. After each stage, players are able to download a new paper model to make and display, a physical representation of their journey through the game. We can’t wait to get our hands on Tearaway it releases on the PS Vita later this year. Chances are you won’t be able to tear it away from us once we start playing. Bazinga!