Tearaway, the Vita platformer from Little Big Planet developer Media Molecule, features some pretty silly gimmicks with the camera, the touchpad, and even the microphone. But as I got my lazy ass off the couch to go find the cat, I had to concede that silly doesn’t mean not effective.
After the jump, what happened to the cat?
Tearaway is mostly about walking through one of Media Molecule’s irresistible imaginative worlds. If you played either of the Little Big Planets — especially the second one — you know what Media Molecule can do. Never mind the player community. That’s a whole other kettle of fish, 95% of which stinks. But the included levels in Little Big Planet 2 included some truly inspired creativity, so much so that I almost wished they didn’t bother with all that sandbox construction set stuff.
That same creativity is clearly on display as you move through Tearaway’s colorful construction paper world. But along the way, there’s a fair bit of busywork that you can take or leave. Do you really want to cut out an elaborate crown for the squirrel king? Of course you don’t. You’re here to play a platformer, to see how it holds up next to the latest Super Mario Bros. or Rayman, right? Who cares about this cosmetic crafting nonsense? So you power through those little bits that a child or a graphic designer might enjoy. But as you play, as you see how Tearaway is going to incorporate however much energy you want to put into these little bits, you might start to care more.
So when I came across a moose who’d lost his color and I had the option to help him, I think I cared a little. Not much. Just a little. And technically, he’s an elk, but I didn’t realize that at the time. I thought I was just going to pick a color for this snow-white moose. “Okay, moose,” I agreed by pressing the talk button, “I’ll decide what color you’re going to be.”
At which point the Vita’s camera turned on. Oh, so this is one of those things where you make a texture out of a photograph. You could do that in Little Big Planet as well, but who can be bothered? Sigh. Okay, what’s something I can take a picture of? Wait, hold on…
I have a black cat. I don’t know if all black cats are like this, but my black cat isn’t technically black. If you look at him in the sunlight, you can see he’s actually dark chocolate brown. With stripes, even. What’s even stranger is that he has white “underfur”, for lack of a better term. It’s as if his fur has snow-white roots. If you pet him backwards, he turns white. When he chews his fur away, as he sometimes does when he gets anxious, he gets white patches. He’s about the least black black cat I can imagine. So if I was going to take a photograph to be turned into a texture for a moose/elk, it was going to be my black cat’s fur. Which you can see in the screenshot at the top of this post. Part cat, part moose, all Tearaway charm.
Okay, Tearaway, so now you’ve got me running around the house taking pictures of the cat. What’s next?