Tearaway sold 14k and it's made me depressed. See why it killed my cynicism inside.

Amir0x

Banned
Oct 27, 2004
103,739
3
0
34
Nowhere, PA
I made a really huge post in the Tearaway thread a week ago to express exactly why the game fundamentally shifted some of my perceptions of what gaming can be. Like the game, the topic is not browsed by many people, and because of how Vita doomed the game to garbage bin sales, I feel the need to do a little more visible proselytizing to hopefully convince a few fence sitters to buy in.

By no means am I saying this is what will happen for everyone. I recognize some of the flaws and I know they will be for some people too much to really love the title. But for me, at least while I was playing it, it shattered my cynicism, and I'd like to share why with a wider audience.

So without further ado, I'd like to show why I think everyone should at least try Tearaway - if they have access to a Vita, anyway. There are some mild SPOILERS inside, so be aware if you want the experience to be completely fresh. All photos are mine.

___________________________________________

IMPRESSIONS
___________________________________________

I'd like to think I am a guy who isn't bowled over by gimmicks and 'innvoation for innovations' sake, that my cynicism goes too deep, is too finely woven into my personality for parlor tricks to do me in. Recently, there have been a slate of games that have challenged my perception of what should and should not qualify as a "quality" videogame, proving the truth to the statement some have made about my stringent critiques - that I was too closed-minded, too willing to dismiss good ideas for small problems. Journey from thatgamecompany completely shattered what I had expected to enjoy - it flew in the face of every single thing I usually look for in games and stood for everything I usually hate, and yet at the end of the experience I was left nearly breathless, something inaudibly "clicking" in my head, like a nuclear reactor being fired up for the first time in a decade. I sensed the cobwebs falling away, and I resisted what it meant. Was it time for me to bella gerant alii? I've thought about it, and I don't think so. But I do believe that I understand now why the industry needs things like Tearaway, even if it never goes on to mainstream success.



Playing Tearaway is like having a chat with a supermodel who also happens to be the most intelligent and engaging conversationalist you've ever encountered. You want to point out that she is a little full of herself, that maybe she's gotta work on some things, but you're too charmed to really bother saying them. That's what playing Tearaway is like. From the second I started playing, I wanted to love it... but I had some things I look for in games, things that tend to be the difference between when I love something and when I don't. The problem with this game for me (or the success of this game, rather) is that the second I really tried to bother saying why I had this issue or that issue, something immediately reminded me why I literally never for one second was able to wipe the smile off my face. Yes, the checkpoint system is ridiculously forgiving - sometimes pushing you even beyond an obstacle you have yet to finish. That's a problem! I know it! There are a myriad of little issues throughout, tiny niggles that would perhaps eat at the core of lesser games. But so much works so often that it stops mattering. Why would it matter when the level design is so often impressive, the controls tight and responsive? The big picture is what this game demands you to pay attention to, and for once the little issues begin to become background noise. Why does it matter as I sit on the precipice of some wondrous paper dreamscape, snapping instagram-ready classics with one of the best in-game cameras ever? Does it matter that I was inventing the engagement by much of my incessant photo snapping? The game provided the tools, they are amazing tools. And I really enjoyed myself, because of the mindblowing artistic direction and the wonderful camera options. I was a confetti paparazzi, trying to find the best angle and best filter to convey my point. I probably was really bad at it, but it was fun. It allowed me to do something that I would never be able to do in real life, which is photograph a incredible fantasy papercraft world.

Anyway, the point of all this camera conversation is simple. Before, my idea was that games needed to be "fun", and to accomplish that the focus was always on the most efficient, tight and deep game design. I still believe many genres require that to work, I do. But I realized at some point very recently that to me "fun" was limiting what I could expect out of games, as were my requirements. I don't need games to be fun, although in this case Tearaway was amazing fun. What I need is a game to provide compelling escapism, an outlet to experience themes and people and ideas that I don't necessarily come across in my daily grind. Sometimes that may be at the behest of the sort of tight game design I've always endorsed. But other times, perhaps more rarely, that escapsim can succeed by just being about the sheer joy of playing, that nearly incommunicable spark that you get when you load up a truly memorable game title for which there are no peers and no way to properly ground the experience.



Tearaway is one such experience. When I was looking forward to it initially, I was hoping for a tight platmormer with a gradually increasing challenge that eventually would encourage me to utilize all what I learned in clever and eventful ways. Mix that in with a compelling artistic direction, and I felt if it could do that, it would be a sure fire hit with me. But what I got wasn't that. I mean, that's not to say it is not a tight platformer at times. It is! It's also relentlessly forgiving, and you rarely lose even more than ten seconds of progress. The core mechanics feel right, Iota/Atoi have a really pleasant feel of momentum and bouncy-ness once jump is obtained. More shockingly to me, but most of the gimmick controls also function with a high degree of ease. Even more special, the reason you are interacting is specifically because you are a YOU, an actual element in the storyline, giving the game one of the most unsettling yet fascinating elements of intense immersion I've encountered in a game. It feels corny, and it is, but it's the type of cheesy that gnaws at your heartstrings, makes you see flashing images of you as a child dirtied up from playing baseball behind the abandoned lot, moves the ground beneath your feet and makes you reevaluate some of your priorities.

You will be prompted to take images of yourself. You will be asked to design creative images to put into the Tearaway world itself. At first these activities seem at best droll, a distraction merely to utilize the various functionalities of the PlayStation Vita. This was my biggest disappointment at first since I went into the game believing that such creative interactions were required to solve puzzles. Instead, none of the "creative moments" really considered what I made... it just wanted me to make anything, really. So I was miffed by the lack of skill requirement, when something finally starting working for me. Maybe it was the consistently amusing ways in which they required my "assistance." Perhaps it was hearing my own echo in a near psychadelic papercraft universe. Or it was having a legit horror game moment that I caused to myself which the game certainly didn't intend but it happened because of me participating in the experience (and that's a must, guys! Don't be lazy.). Oh, if you're interested in that horror story, SPOILER TAG DO NOT READ UNLESS YOU BEAT GAME:

There was a moment when the game wanted me to take a picture of my face. Later it would animate my face mouth opening and closing. Anyway, when it prompted me to take that image, I was in my bed in the pitch dark, and the camera was hardly picking up anything. Anyway, I did the color negative filter, in order so a face could be made out. The result was like one of those cheap horror film faces, looked pained and everything. Well, anyway... flash forward to the end of the game. Very last page of that "you" storybook, and that same face appeared again out of nowhere and I was seriously in silence in the dark so I jumped a little. DON'T JUDGE ME.

Anyway, the whole point is that once again my expectations were subverted, I was taught once more that maybe my clinical dismissals of everything that don't fit into neat categories needs occasional reevaluation. And I can't help but feel Tearaway is such a game. It embodies what I railed against for most of the Wii generation, many gimmicks for gimmicks sake. And yet despite all the odds, it works for me. To the point where I literally don't know if I'd want to play it any other way, which I guess is a me version of all those people who thought the atrocious Godfather was suddenly a good game with Wiimote controls.



The ways it works are just too numerous to really list in one overview. The radiant, phenomenal construction paper art style is one of the most see-it-to-believe-it achievements in gaming visuals in a long time. The only way to properly convey what its victories are is to actually play Tearaway. It is extremely smooth for a Vita game, has a mostly always 30fps feel and bursts out of the OLED crispness with its vibrant rainbow papercraft world, a cornucopia of vivid colors featuring locations so varied and so consistently genius to traverse that it very often feels like it is putting other games to shame. Construction paper unfurls in a captivating stop motion-esque bit of animation. Rain drops are made out of confetti. Landscape twists and twirls, flaps and folds, a phantasmagoric imagery treat that when viewed through your camera lens often seems like a surrealist painting in motion. With few exceptions and despite a supremely easy challenge, most levels are consistently enjoyable to play, featuring stunning amounts of gameplay variety and design ingenuity and more than a few hidden secrets. It feels like it's being helmed by masters who are in love with the medium, individuals whom so completely understand the core of what makes a game attractive that they might as soon well be called Nintendo. Tearaway is THAT sort of achievement.

And it reflects that claim similarly in the level of polish and care that went into every aspect of the game. It would be a fucking sin for me not to mention, for example, the fact that it has one of the greatest game soundtracks of the year, perhaps of the generation. I could tell you to listen to The Traveler, a melancholy prayer that comes out of left field within the game, sets a mood completely unexpected, and has a sound like a sort of dying chipmunk barber shop quartet. Before, inexplicably, it also becomes badass. And all of this is reflected appropriately within the narrative. I felt like fucking Rocky running up the steps in Philadelphia as my journey so perfectly harmonized with Gibbet Hill - Pilgrimage. How they STILL managed to up that a notch when this shit drops @ 1m52s. That incredibly the game has BARN INSPIRED dubstep. There is so much audial variety that there is fucking Renassaince hop. I can't even describe it better than that.



A marriage between visual (creatures and environments occasionally bob to the sounds as well), gameplay (
leading a fellow messanger out, one who has been unable to deliver his message for god knows how long
) and sound so impressive in unison that it feels as if none could exist without the other. Losing any part would immensely diminish the charm of the presentation and the enjoyment I derived. When you add it all up, it's one of the rare games where you are excited not only to see what gameplay opportunities come next, or to be a virtual sightseer in some beautiful world, but to listen to the musical genius provided by Kenneth Young and Brian D'Oliveira.

I wish I could articulate better why the summary of the gimmicks in this game finally worked for me where others did not. I wish I could explain better that the thematic underscoring of ones creativity and construction paper world made such gimmicks actually feel like a natural extension of the core game. I hope I can convey at least how any of the gimmicks - from the back touch finger to the rare use of the microphone - are never the least bit difficult or awkward to use, compounding why it slid through my proverbial donut hole. How when you get right to it, the intimacy of some of the interactions - from selfies to your finger breaking through the world to the You in the Sun - all contribute to immersing you in a narrative so specifically perfect to introducing these elements in a sensical way that you almost completely forget about it in about a half hour. It just works effectively together, or at least it does for me.

And, for the record, it also has a masterful ending to top off this sure-to-be gaming cult classic. From start to finish, there is hardly a single missed note, no matter how simple or challenging any individual moment was, it all seemed to fit perfectly into the space allotted to it, and nothing felt like it should be much of any different outside of some minor nuances. It is such a compact yet magnificently fulfilling package that I would have had no problem recommending it were it a 60 dollar game. A value is not derived purely from the hours you get, which Journey taught me. If that experience can convey something you cannot feel anywhere else and it is something you found profoundly pleasurable and moving, then it's a commodity as rare as Poudretteite. At six-to-eight hours, and probably up to ten if you really go wild with photos and secret finding as I did, there is not a single moment that overstays its welcome. It has excised any element that is unnecessary or that could be considered filling, and merely allowed simple curiosity to compel one to stay and spend more time. I could not and still cannot stop taking photos. Maybe you will take one photo and never participate in much of the creative opportunities, and in such a case I would geniunely suggest not to buy the game. But I think few people will be able to resist the disarming level of hand pulling and winking the game does at you, because it's just so effectively handled.




I am prone to hyperbole. People know that, but it's because I am passionate about games. This hobby is one element that has partially defined my life, and I think if many others on GAF are honest with themselves they would say it was true. It's extemely influential for most of us, in one way or another. I think it's a very positive force in this world, and can be art as well as just simple fun. But I will say this about Tearaway: There was a bit at the end, which articulated in a single moment (which I won't spoil) everything the game had made me feel up until that point but I couldn't put my finger on it. The only way to describe it is... it felt like there was not a single responsibility in the world. For the time I spent in this game, everything around me evaporated and I was at true peace. It's funny because the only other time I've ever felt that way was as a boy... likely when I was sitting in my underwear playing something like Super Mario Bros. 3 or Earthbound.

This is not a game that should be compared to Super Mario 64 or any other game in that way. It is a disservice to Tearaway to do so actually. It invents expectations, and it shouldn't because there should be none. There are zero other games quite like Tearaway. And that's just the way I like it.
 

Andrew.

Banned
Apr 11, 2011
13,173
0
0
Amirox out the ass as usual =P

Game looks so aesthetically pleasing to the eyepieces.

Shouldve posted a picture of your face as the sun bro bro.
 

JazzmanZ

Member
Aug 18, 2010
5,816
1
0
Teraway and the Puppeteer are probably two of the most charming but underrated games this year :(
 

Stampy

Member
Jan 9, 2009
1,198
0
670
I know how you feel. I had the exact same feeling with Puppeter. Didn't manage to try Tearaway yet , but I bought Vita for it.
 

Kard8p3

Member
Jan 22, 2008
11,663
1
850
This game deserves to be played by millions. It's a shame that one of Sony's best first party games ever will flop.
 

dcx4610

Member
Dec 4, 2012
2,829
3
440
The game was released during the same time frame as the PS4 and Xbone. What in the world were they thinking? Did they want it to fail?

It's on my to buy list but it's on the back burner. They really should have held off until after the holidays when the next gen drought hits.
 

entremet

Member
Dec 6, 2008
85,412
91
1,160
:(

I hate when risky, creative, and excellent games fail.

Just leads to more homogeneous development.

The game was released during the same time frame as the PS4 and Xbone. What in the world were they thinking? Did they want it to fail?

It's on my to buy list but it's on the back burner. They really should have held off until after the holidays when the next gen drought hits.
They wanted to give Vita owners an original title for the holidays. No one olse is supporting the system, Sony has to lead the way.
 
May 31, 2011
3,415
0
0
Holy crap I did.t read most of that cause I'm a bit drunk. Tearaway is the shit and should be played by everyone. However... Gaming is heading a way where awesome yes are being ignored and free games and competitive games are played the most. PAY2win is the future.. And it sucks
Edit: yeah I'm drunk
 

SykoTech

Member
Sep 3, 2010
9,046
0
0
Damn, that low? Not even the extremely small dev team working on the game may be able to cushion that blow.

A shame. Haven't played it yet, but the impressions, reviews, footage I've seen, and it being made by Media Molecule all suggest that it is an awesome game. Not too surprising though. A niche-looking Vita game launched right in the middle of next-gen hype. Add in Wii U somewhere in there, and it would be the perfect receipe for a bomb.
 

balohna

Member
May 5, 2006
3,830
0
0
British Columbia, Canada
I plan to get it when I buy a Vita, but I'm hesitant to buy it now because it might be a PS+ deal by the time I have Vita.

Such is the flaw with PS+, and Sony dropping prices so quick. I just got Ni No Kuni for $10 and it hasn't even been out a year.
 

VideoMan

30% Failure Rate
Aug 21, 2005
1,973
0
0
PSA: If you live in the US and have a Vita, Tearaway will be $19.99 next week at Gamestop.

I plan on picking myself up a copy.
 

qko

Member
Sep 26, 2012
2,482
0
420
$90 for a 32GB memory card.

No. Never.

Vita needs like 10-15 first party games of this quality for me to be convinced to take the plunge. Proselytize all you want, I'd rather save that money on getting a PS4.
 

Strider

Member
Jul 23, 2013
8,400
0
0
Only 14k? I know no one expected it to do that great but yea that is kinda depressing :(

I loved the game. If you have a vita.. buy it.
 

CrackPebbles

Member
Jul 3, 2013
5,052
0
360
Yeah I played a little, not my cup of tea, still shame about those sales numbers. I felt the same way as you when w101(Well most Platinum games..) bombed.
 

Salsa

Member
Aug 29, 2009
72,241
0
0
Montevideo, Uruguay
steamcommunity.com
$90 for a 32GB memory card.

No. Never.

Vita needs like 10-15 first party games of this quality for me to be convinced to take the plunge. Proselytize all you want, I'd rather save that money on getting a PS4.
This is why I bought a different color 3DSXL (and sold the old one) a couple months ago instead of a Vita. Fuck Sony with that shit.