I experienced some serious deja vu at the PlayStation Experience. I knew I had to play Tearaway Unfolded. I still haven’t gone back to the Vita version to 100% it, because I still have certain feelings about the game. Regardless, I pushed on and found that yes, it is pretty much the same game.
There are some changes, of course, but they’re more to replace the Vita-specific control schemes with something that can work on the PlayStation 4. After all, there’s no touch screen there. You can’t tap the rear touchpad to make bouncepads work, so, instead, motion controls and touch panel schemes (via the PS4’s DualShock 4 controller) are implemented.
The Tearaway Unfolded demo at PlayStation Experience took place fairly early in Atoi’s journey. Crows were assaulting an area and she needed to explore a barn to find something to scare the birds away. This item turned out to be a pumpkin that can be used as a scarecrow’s head. Using it involves walking along a path through a papercraft world, overcoming a few challenges or obstacles.
Those still grumbling over a port and worrying the PS4 is getting something extra and special will be pleased to know the segment I experienced was practically identical to the Vita version in terms of story. Rather, it was some challenges changed to make proceeding through the level more interactive on the PS4 version.
Instead, the highlights of the Tearaway Unfolded demo were seeing how the DualShock 4-specific features worked. The first involves gopher, squirrel, and object tossing. These were in the Vita game, sure, but didn’t involve the player’s interaction. Atoi or Iota would do it themselves at a press of a button. Now, the messenger will throw it to the player’s DualShock 4 if you point the controller skyward. Then, you aim at the appropriate target, object, or enemy on the screen and swipe a finger along the touch pad. The object in the DualShock 4 shoots back onto the screen.
To be honest, I didn’t really care for it. I mean sure, it’s cute. Nice way to make the player more active in this virtual world. But, at the same time, it felt like a lot more work. I preferred Atoi being able to throw stuff on her own. It made things a lot easier. The same can be said for the other, new, gameplay element. The DualShock 4’s “light” can be used to mesmerize Scrap enemies and lead them around the environment. It’s a good way to pause the action and lead them to a trap or off the screen; plus, it actually makes it seem like the DualShock 4’s light has a purpose.
The problem is, it felt like it made things a little too easy in the Tearaway Unfolded demo. Scraps are around? Shine light in their eyes and do everything for Atoi. It made her feel less substantial as a character. In the original Tearaway, the gameplay made her feel a little more capable than she was in Tearaway Unfolded. I mean, I was still doing a lot of things for her there, but it seemed like I was doing even more for her with the PS4 version.
Tearaway Unfolded looked great running on PS4s at the PlayStation Experience. I’m sure it’ll do well and people who didn’t see it on the Vita will have fun following the messenger. Personally, I came away feeling like the Vita version is going to end up being the “best” one, even though this will be newer and shinier. It feels like a game that was created with the Vita in mind, and that now Media Molecule is going out of its way to try and make it also work on the PS4 as well with a few gimmicks that don’t feel as balanced as the ones present in the original.