Not that I'm trying to set a trend or anything, but I finished another game over the weekend, Tearaway.
I think Tearaway is one of those games that some people wanted to elevate to a modern classic. It certainly is a game that generated outrage for anything other than loving admiration, as witnessed by Joystiq's review. For me, I will say it was a unique experience, but one that was not without its faults. What this game did well, it knocked out of the park! I mentioned in a previous blog that it felt like playing in a diorama, but I think rather it was like playing a stop-motion animation movie. Media Molecule has perfected the art of making graphics that look like real world objects but move like game characters. No one else has come close to this level of controllable reality. However, the game falls short of being a Limbo, Journey, or Brothers level kind of experience. Those games made you feel you were playing something special - Tearaway keeps reminding you that you are on a "great quest to delivery your message". More subtlety would have been good. There were also some game mechanics that didn't work very well. The combat was pretty simple and the sections where you had to "make" things was particularly frustrating because you had to draw a closed figure with your finger on the touch screen. If you left just one little bit uncut, it wouldn't separate. Also, it didn't matter what you made as you were highly praised whether you made something that looked like what you were asked for or not. (The same unconditional acceptance extended to pictures taken or sounds recorded.) Oddly, the one time I tried to be creative was when an NPC asked for a tie. I thought that the cactus would clever, but no, that wouldn't work. Then I gave him a bow tie. That was also rejected. I had to pick the tie sticker at the bottom of the items list before it would let me move on. Still, I have to say it was an amazing game - the variety of platform mechanics that used Vita features was incredible. I doubt anyone will be able to make another game that makes as much use of the hardware as Tearaway did.
Tearaway was also the first complete game I've played on my Vita. It's a compelling system to sit down with at night and just kick back with on the sofa. I decided to follow up with some other titles...with varying results.
The Walking Dead Season 1 - I got this through PS+ and although I've played it on the PC, I wondered how it would play on the Vita. In a word, not-good. For a game with simple mechanics and an excellent story, it plays poorly with traditional stick controls. Aiming is almost impossible and you can't invert the Y-axis. Also, the game pauses a lot during scenes which is very annoying. Well, it was a freebie, so no harm done.
Limbo - Also a PS+ freebie. I started to really get into playing this on the Vita. Limbo's atmosphere is perfect for a dark living room at midnight. And everything was going great until I missed a rope, fell on a box, and died...but the game wouldn't reset. My little white-dot eyes were blinking, but I couldn't move. Maybe I had just broken my neck and I had to just lie there and die from starvation. It would fit the mood of the game! Anyway, that little glitch got me moving to another title.
Lone Survivor - This survival horror game plays well on the Vita, but I don't think I really enjoy it. It's a little too retro for my tastes, considering there's so much more out there to play.
Thomas Was Alone - Now this I think I can stay with. It's amazing how easily a human mind can accept that a little cursor has a name and a destiny you have to fulfill. The narration in the game is great and as long as it doesn't get frustratingly hard, I think I'll be able to finish it. *Update*: After another evening of Thomas, I think I'll move on. Underneath the mask of a platformer, there lies a puzzle game. Not bad, just not my cup of tea.