A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Tearaway is a 3-D platform adventure game starring a little paper messenger. Although there's a bit of combat that sees the protagonist hopping on, rolling up against, and throwing various papery minions, the focus here is much more on exploration, discovery, and, especially, creativity. Players get to create and customize objects within the game, take photos, record their voices, and interact with the world in unusual ways. They also can recreate the characters and objects they see in the game by downloading dozens -- and dozens -- of printable paper models and their corresponding instructions, which are unlocked while they're playing. It's a great outlet for creativity both on and off the gaming console.
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What's it about?
TEARAWAY is a colorful paper-craft adventure that tells the story of a small paper person journeying through a fantastical, three-dimensional paper world to deliver a message to you, the player, who appears to the paper people as a god-like entity in the sky. Available only for PlayStation Vita, it makes use of several of the system's interface features. Players can touch the console's rear panel to poke their fingers through into the game world and interact with objects. The front touch screen is used to interact with shining silver paper, which shows up as bows that can be pulled off presents and paper paths that can be unrolled. It also can be drawn on and used to cut out pieces of virtual paper to customize objects. Players use the console's motion sensors to shift things in the game world into place and the microphone to record their voices, which get played back to them at key points in the adventure. The rear camera is used to take pictures that appear on certain surfaces in the world or to capture textures that get applied to various paper creatures. The game also employs the front camera to project the player's face into the world -- for example, making him or her appear like a face within the sun. What's more, players can take pictures of creatures and objects to unlock their schematics, which they can then download and print, allowing them to recreate scenes they see in the game in real life.
Is it any good?
Tearaway is very likely the most original, daring, and just plain entertaining game yet released for PlayStation Vita. Everything in its beautiful paper world stays true to the game's paper theme, from glue-coated walls that give Tearaway's hero the ability to walk along them to virtual currency made of confetti. The three-dimensional adventure, filled with memorable characters in need of the messenger's help, is a delight from start to finish. Even more remarkable, though, is how players can capture pictures of characters and objects with the game's camera and then download their blueprints and instructions so they can print them out and build them in the real world, recreating specific scenes from the game or creating their own. It's a terrific and wholly unique melding of the real and virtual worlds that acts as a terrific bit of added value and will ensure players young and old never forget this one-of-a-kind adventure.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about paper-crafting. What sorts of things have you built out of paper? Did this game provide you with new paper-crafting ideas? Is there anything in the game you wanted to build but for which you couldn't find and unlock instructions?
Families also can discuss the game's unusual meditations on message and story. What do you think is the "message" referred to throughout the game? Whose story do you experience while playing, yours or that of your little paper messenger?
Have you played other games that are equally creative?
- Platforms: PlayStation Vita
- Subjects: Arts: playing, sculpture
Hobbies: building, collecting
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: solving puzzles
Creativity: imagination, making new creations
Tech Skills: digital creation
- Price: $39.99
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment
- Release date: November 22, 2013
- Genre: Adventure
- ESRB rating: E for Mild Cartoon Violence
For kids who love adventures and creative games
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