Let’s Play … Tearaway Unfolded [PS4]

OK, I thought I’d do another Let’s Play video, this time for Media Molecule’s PS4-exclusive Tearaway Unfolded, a sort-of remake for the game Tearaway which appeared on the PSVita [a handheld console that seems, regrettably, overlooked by Sony much of the time].

The PSVita game was just delightful and used the strengths of the handheld beautifully. I’m intrigued to see how Unfolded makes the most of the PS4’s abilities. There’s no commentary on this one as I’m having trouble with recording audio so this just has in-game audio.

Enjoy. If you want to see more, Like it and let me know in the comments.

The Game Junkie week: Tearaway & Ryse: Son of Rome

Tearaway: the game this is making me use my PS Vita lots

2013-11-08-134142I’ve already mentioned Tearaway on Game JunkieNZ 2.0 before, in a preview,  but I’ve been playing the full version quite a bit lately, and I can say without a doubt that it’s one of – if not the – best game I’ve played on the PS Vita. I’ve played it during the day and I’ve played it during the night.

If you’re  a fan of platform games then I can recommend Tearaway wholeheartedly, from its cute world made entirely out paper, to its endearing lead character, its great soundtrack and not forced use of the hardware’s touch capabilities. Tearaway should be played by everyone who owns a PS Vita but sadly, I think that the game will be overlooked a little as it was released around the same time frame that the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4. Part of me can’t help but feel that Media Molecule’s next big amazing game will be ignored by many gamers because they’re too busy Xbox One-ing and PlayStation 4-ing.

I’m not going to ramble on about Tearaway apart from say if you want an amazing game for your PS Vita that will make you smile and laugh then buy it. Just buy it.

Ryse Son of Rome (Xbox One)

RyseSonfRomeRyse is definitely one of the Xbox One’s showcase launch games thanks to its amazing graphics. It look freaken fantastic. It really does but it’s been getting a lot of mixed reviews, mainly because of  about it’s one-note combat and short game length.

It’s true that the combat is repetitive, made up of blocks and heavy strikes, but dammit, I enjoyed the game.

Detailing the rise of Roman general Marius Titus and his revenge against the barbarians that murdered his family, Ryse is, for the most part, an enjoyable romp, despite the fact that the story is a little ham-fisted at times. The game’s maker Crytek isn’t going to win any Oscars for story telling.

Yes, it takes liberties with history but what game hasn’t done that in the past? The voice acting is for the most part superb, with Titus voiced with conviction. Part of me can’t help but feel that perhaps many people are critical of Ryse because it hasn’t reinvented the wheel, which is what they were expecting. I don’t know. I’m probably wrong but apart from a few frustrating moments near the end, I wanted to finish the game.

Key to the success in Ryse’s combat  is blocking incoming attacks, which leaves enemies open to attack where Titus will hack and slash until a red skull appears above their head. When the skull appears, pressing the right trigger activates  the game’s cinematic execution sequences where you have to press the corresponding coloured face button (either X or Y) to match the coloured outline that has flashed around the enemy. Get it right and the executions are brutal: slow motion arms chopped off or swords through the chest. If you miss the prompts, Titus still kills the enemy anyway – you just don’t earn as many experience points.

Ryse is a linear affair – there’s chance for exploring the environment – and squad mate AI falls flat at times. Sometimes I thought Titus was the only Roman soldier fighting the barbarian hordes. During one “Stop the siege towers mission” I had to almost single-handedly take on the enemies while some of my fellow Romans just stood there. It didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the game but it did make me raise my eyebrows.

Every kill earns experience points, which can be used to upgrade Titus’ skills (health, focus, combat), but something that made me raise an eye brow again was that you can use real money to purchase gold that can be used to upgrade skills. While you’re not forced to buy gold –  you can still grind your way through killing foes – this sort of in-game micro-transactions just doesn’t sit right with me.

Ryse: Son of Room doesn’t re-invent the wheel and it can be repetitive, and it seems I’m in the minority, but I really enjoyed it. I really did.  I guess that’s what makes us all different as gamers.

Next on my list of Xbox One games to finish are Dead Rising 3, Forza Motorsports 5 and Zoo Tycoon. I’ve played NBA Live 14 and it’s not worth playing, believe me. 2K’s NBA series has nothing to worry about.

Tearaway preview: where paper replaces sack cloth

2013-11-08-135040Tearaway, the new game from Little Big Planet creator Media Molecule, is a game that made me smile.

My biggest smile came as Iota, the cutesy lead character in PS Vita game Tearaway that has a head that looks like an envelope (you can also play as a female character called Aoti, if you want), was riding on the back of a pig – that I was controlling – as it ran riot through the game’s brightly coloured world, a world made entirely out of paper and cardboard.

At the end of the piggy rampage, the pig spotted a female pig and the pair trotted off to a barn, a giant question mark hanging over Iota’s head. Tearaway is a game that will make you smile till your face hurts. Earlier, I’d had to make the pig cuter for its owner, attaching a false moustache to his piggy lips (do pigs have lips?)  I took all the photos in this write-up using my Vita’s image capture function but in hindsight, I wish I’d taken a screenshot of the pig.

Tearaway is a game where your face – yes, the face of the player – plays a starring role, captured by the Vita’s front-facing camera and pasted on the game world’s sun (there’s a photo here where you can see my ugly mug staring out), elevating you to the lofty heights of a god that the world’s inhabitants revere. You’re referred through out the game as “You”.

It’s a game where you use your fingers (and the rear touch pad) to punch through things to move obstacles, pull open ribbons on presents and beat drum skin-laden bounce pads that propel the game’s star, Iota to higher levels. It’s a game where you’ll use your fingertips to open presents and trap doors.

2013-11-08-135000Tearaway is a delight of a game that takes the magic developer Media Molecule crafted into Little Big Planet and plasters it liberally in a world with dancing apple cores made out of paper open and close when you approach, squirrels throw acorns at each other and paper plants unfurl their leaves when you walk through them.  It’s magical.

Iota is a messenger sent to safe the world from an unknown evil and as Iota explores, the world comes to live.  When he stands on a bounce pad (it looks like a drum skill), tapping on the Vita’s rear touch pad, propels him into the air, landing on platforms above. Bridges made out of green paper unfurl as he approaches them, carnival music blaring in the background. Paper plants pop up as he walks by, and concentric circles radiate from his feet as he walks through a stream, made out of paper.

It’s a platformer at heart, with Iota/Aoti jumping and rolling about the game world but the fact that you have to use your fingers to manipulate the game world for your character to progress is just genius. There’s combat, but it’s basic, basic stuff where you roll into enemies (Iota/Aoti can turn into an orb) called scraps, knocking them senseless, then pick them up and toss them.

I could wax lyrical about Tearaway for much, much longer but I won’t. I’ll stop here but it’s been one of the most enjoyable handheld gaming experiences I’ve had in a long, long time.

It’s games like Tearaway that make it worth owning a PS Vita, a fantastic handheld console – with an amazing screen – that has been neglected for too long by Sony, but it seems that with this year’s Killzone Mercenary and now Tearaway,  Sony are actually giving the love back to its handheld. Tearaway creates the same kind of magic that LittleBigPlanet did and for my money, Media Molecule have another hit on its hand.

Right, enough waffling: I’m off to guide Iota on his next quest. I wonder what wonders will unfold before my eyes?

Tearaway is out on PS Vita on November 22.


Sorry about this: Oh, look it's my ugly mug staring back at me (and now, staring back at you).

Sorry about this: Oh, look it’s my ugly mug staring back at me (and now, staring back at you).