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 Unfolded is a paper-craft-themed 3-D platformer and action game with a focus on creativity. Kids control a two-dimensional courier (male or female, according to player preference) on a mission to deliver a message to the person playing the game. This little hero is brave, responsible, and always willing to assist others. He or she must occasionally fight other paper creatures, but battles consist simply of bumps and tosses, with foes bursting into colorful confetti. The game promotes curiosity by an array of novel play mechanics that kids can experiment with: It encourages creativity including drawing, taking photos, and (outside the game) building paper-craft models from schematics that can be downloaded from the Tearaway website. Note that this is a port of a game that originally released on PlayStation Vita, not a sequel.
What's it about?
TEARAWAY UNFOLDED tells the same story as the original Tearaway for PlayStation Vita. Players take control of a paper messenger in possession of an important missive that needs to be delivered to you, the player. He or she -- you can select gender -- adventures through an imaginative 3-D world composed of two-dimensional objects. These include paper creatures and interactive surfaces players can experiment and play with to discover how they work or be used to their advantage. Though it's largely the same game that appeared in 2013 on PlayStation Vita, several changes have been implemented to make it a better fit for the PlayStation 4, which lacks certain hardware and interface features found on Sony's handheld. For example, kids now can use the PlayStation 4 controller's glowing front panel to shine a light in the game world that affects both objects and enemies, and they're encouraged to use a PlayStation Camera to capture themselves. There's also a separate companion app on a phone or tablet to make it easier to draw objects that can be imported into the game world.
Is it any good?
Although this creative adventure game isn't quite the revelatory experience that its cousin was on PlayStation Vita, it's still a lot of fun. Its paper world jumps to life in new ways in HD on giant TV screens, allowing players to appreciate Media Molecule's inimitable artistry in new ways. The upbeat story remains a refreshingly wholesome and whimsical alternative to darker, grittier video-game narratives. Plus, the ability to download blueprints of your favorite paper-craft models and build them yourself in the real world remains a great and utterly unique feature in the realm of games. It's a fantastic way for game-loving kids to take a break from the screen yet continue exploring their hobby in new ways.
All of this said, the PlayStation Vita edition of Tearaway remains the definitive version. Forcing players to use additional devices -- including a PlayStation Camera and mobile device, which not everyone will be able to easily access -- to fully exploit all the game's features isn't ideal. And while new play mechanics -- such as using the PlayStation 4 controller's light as a flashlight -- are fun, they don't fully replace those we've lost, such as tapping the Vita's rear panel to push our fingers through the world's paper floor and see them poking up on the screen. Tearaway Unfolded is still an enjoyable and inspired experience, but if you can play only one version and have a Vita, go handheld.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about creativity. Which do you prefer: creating virtual things in applications and games or making arts and crafts in the real world? Do you think you're better at one than the other? Why?
Families also can discuss screen time. It's easy to get lost in a game such as Tearaway Unfolded, which blurs the lines between our world and the digital one on our TV, so how do you ensure you don't get carried away and play too long?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4
- Subjects: Science: physics
Arts: drawing, sculpture
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, solving puzzles
Creativity: imagination, making new creations, producing new content
Tech Skills: digital creation, using and applying technology
- Price: $39.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment
- Release date: September 8, 2015
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Adventures, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models
- ESRB rating: E for Mild Cartoon Violence
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.