Video game reviews: Tearaway Unfolded and Mega Man Legacy Collection
A remake of a surreal cult classic for PlayStation and all of Mega Man: no wonder our reviewer's thumbs are a blur
Don’t get your panties in a bunch. This isn’t another remake. All right, it is, but it’s not what you think. The days when nearly every console game was a rehash of something from before are thankfully mostly gone. Now it’s all spanking-new, hardware-pushing efforts, ambitious little independent projects, and the occasional much-welcome remake.
Tearaway Unfolded is one of the latter, mostly because it’s an update of a critically acclaimed game from the creators of LittleBigPlanet, for the PS Vita system – you know, that handheld console that nobody bought. So a PS4 remake is more than justified: the original release harnessed simple, original storytelling and the Vita’s touch screen to create a game that blended both real and virtual worlds.
On-screen, you were an envelope in a paper-built world, and your sole mission was to deliver yourself to the sun. The twist? You are the sun. Yes, you, the person holding the controller. Mind-blowing, eh? Along the way, you had to customise your world, solve challenging puzzles and fight off endless creatures.
Translating that madness to a big-screen system can’t have been easy and developers Media Molecule have taken the word “remake” to heart, reinventing core gameplay dynamics while ensuring Tearaway’s spirit is still firmly intact. Taking full advantage of some rather underused PS4 controller mechanics, the game adapts and adopts into its new system with clever ease.
Quick swipes across the touchpad have you blowing enemies off the screen, a couple of presses on the shoulder buttons see bright lights shining through the nooks and crannies, and even your voice comes in handy for adding a bit of life through the built-in microphone.
Even the drawbacks come with alternatives: drawing, one of the key gameplay components, is limited to MS Paint-like creations on the touchpad’s tiny surface, but there’s the option to download a free app to your smart device for a bigger playing field. The Playstation-certified camera, if you have one, also puts your face right in the middle of the mix – one of the highlights of the original game.
Those might seem a little stand-in compared to the seamless mix of the original, but it’s more than made up by an even more stunning visual art style. The arts-and-crafts approach is still on-board – four-eyed pigs, maybe? – but it’s all got a new HD sheen that’s crisper, weirder and slightly unsettling. You know that phrase where something’s “on acid”?
Which brings us to your confusion. You’re forgiven if, after all that, you still have no idea what kind of game Tearaway Unfolded is. Here’s a good analogy, though: if big-budget action releases are the Michael Bay movies of the gaming world, this is a Pixar flick directed by David Lynch.
Mega Man Legacy Collection
Most of you probably won’t like this. The Mega Man Legacy Collection isn’t really made for casual modern players, for the types that read gaming reviews in major newspapers and maybe buy the latest Grand Theft Auto or FIFA release. It’s a box of pure geek gaming, all six of Mega Man’s retro 8-bit adventures in one package.
There’s no graphical update here, no sign of reinvention. Just pure emulation, the ’80s games you’ve lovingly rose-tinted in your mind, repackaged with every little glitch and frame rate issue for the PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo 3DS and PC. So what’s the appeal here, when you can get the exact same thing for free through questionable means online?
Apart from the fact that that method is illegal and shame on you for even considering it, Mega Man is considered gaming royalty. This is preservation of the highest form: the concept behind Mega Man has always been incredibly simple – a basic side-scroller where you fight off enemies and bosses – but it’s in the complex execution that the series thrived as the gaming choice of the ’80s geek-connoisseur.
This ain’t no Mario: Mega Man has always been notorious for its ingenious levels of difficulty, overloading the surreally cyberpunk levels with falling blocks, moving conveyer belts, no-gravity areas and plenty of other game-changers that constantly kept you on your toes.
Enemies are strategically placed rather than at random, so endless leaping isn’t much of an option. And then there are the weapons: from blades and bombs through to lasers and beams, each character’s is unique, and extras are salvaged from defeated bosses. That gives Mega Man a noticeable edge over fellow side-scrollers, a rip-roaring violent side alongside its completist streak.
The games are all well and good, but the Legacy Collection wouldn’t be much without its legend-stoking. For all you stuck-in-the-past obsessives, a massive Museum has been included here, filled with incredible amounts of background info, concept art, old-school ads and plenty of other geeky thrills. More impressive though, are the additional Remix modes, throwing our blue bomber through timed challenges in bizarre level combinations.
Mega Man Legacy Collection won’t appeal to everyone. To be honest, it’s a little surprising that Capcom put this package together at all, as the fanbase for emulated games surely isn’t that large. But for us nostalgic types with a deep-seated appreciation for gaming’s fascinating history, we’re happy to have it.