On Being Invited to Play: Media Molecule’s “Tearaway Unfolded”

I don’t often give perfect scores, and in all honesty, I probably could’ve docked a few points for the occasionally wonky camera in Tearaway Unfolded. But sometimes you have to go with your gut, and the consistently charming, always inventive, and mass accumulation of cuteness of this title absolutely won me over. There are no game-changing moral decisions here, but the ability to craft your own paper collages for inclusion within the game leaves a personal impact, and shows the developer’s choice to play hand-in-hand with you, rather than to consistently wrestle for control. The overall worlds are entirely Media Molecule’s, and there’s no world-building kit, as in their other big title, LittleBigPlanet. But the decorations and design of objects within them is yours. You’ll have to follow their rules when interacting with objects, swiping the touchpad so that the wind can peel away ribbons of glue-y paper on which to walk across, or shining the light bar onto the screen to act as a flashlight, but there’s also plenty of time to just fool around, and I’ve never found myself using the in-game camera (which has a variety of filters, including one that uses the Playstation Camera to take fourth-wall breaking shots) so often.

Above all else, as I write about in my full review for Slant, the game is focused on putting creative power into the hands of the players. The in-game collectibles are printable blueprints that allow you to recreate your favorite characters and objects in the real-world, and the whole package consistently blurs the line between active creation and passive play. Unlike Minecraft or Disney Infinity, though, it’s a celebratory and inventive game first and foremost, aimed at sparking one’s curiosity. Between this and Mario Maker, the future looks bright for developers and players alike.

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