Now Playing: Weekend Edition (12/7)

What are you playing this weekend? Tis the season for overtime, so we’re still chipping away at the games we posted last week. However, Stacey has one more to add to her plate.

Tearaway

tearaway

Developed by Media Molecule and published by Sony Computer Entertainment

Tearaway is the latest from Media Molecule, the studio previously responsible for LittleBigPlanet. It touts a similarly handcrafted aesthetic as well as an eye for whimsy, but where LittleBigPlanet fell short as a functional game, Tearaway is proving to be a surprisingly polished product. Like its predecessor, Tearaway is meant to rally support for its hardware’s unique potential. Where LittleBigPlanet trumpeted the power of the Playstation 3 for user-generated creative content, Tearaway serves as an extensive technical demo for what can be done with the Vita’s less conventional input methods.

There is plenty of room for Tearaway to teeter into the wasteland of gimmicks, but so far it has resisted. This is in no small part due to Media Molecule’s foresight to build its elaborate world around these functions rather than shoehorning them in after the fact. Too often a game will try to undo 20 years worth of muscle memory in order to appease a hardware giant like Sony, but Tearaway smartly avoids this problem. The traditional x button and analog stick still serve the same functions they always have–jumping and moving your character across the screen–and new input methods provide new ways of getting around the unique world of Tearaway. You hit the back touchpad to beat a drum and send your papercraft hero (or heroine) flying; you stop a massive turntable by holding it on the front screen so your hero can cross. You tilt your Vita to frame your in-game photos, just as you would a real camera. Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel, Media Molecule has created something else entirely.  And it’s really, really cute.

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