It stars one of two messengers named Iota or Atoi, and they need to deliver a package to the player. Unfortunately, their idyllic papercraft world is overrun by monsters called "Scraps", so they need to slog through various levels and get to the end where a device is waiting that will let them send the message to the player (such as a catapult that will launch them and the message into the sun, where the player's face appears).
Throughout the game, players can unlock various papercraft projects that they can upload to their computers for printing.
Tearaway was released on November 22, 2013 in the US and Europe, and December 5, 2013 in Japan.
Tearaway features the following tropes:
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Pretty much the overall point of the game. The protagonists are messengers that deliver a message to the player, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Tearaway makes full use of the Vita's touchpads, in order to shove platforms around, tear things out of the way, activate "drum pads", or smash certain kinds of enemies. That's not even getting into the camera or the collectible cutouts you can unlock via website by playing the game.
- The Cameo: If you know where to look, you can spot Yellowhead◊ from another Media Molecule franchise. There's a trophy for taking a photo of him.
- Critical Annoyance: The game beeps once you take one hit, warning you that the messenger won't survive the next one. See Regenerating Health for more.
- Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: There are checkpoints spread generously throughout the stages, but in many areas, if you fall, you appear right where you fell off (or even where you're trying to jump to) even if there's not a checkpoint there. And if you die in the middle of a battle, you'll just appear right back in the battlefield and you don't have to kill the same scraps again.
- Defeat Equals Explosion: Regular enemies explode on death, though into confetti and paper scraps. The player-messengers explode as well, when slain.
- Diabolus ex Machina: Various things happen for no reason except to prevent the messenger from delivering the message and transition to the next level.
- Escape Sequence: There's a level where you have to run away from angry Wendigos. Expect Jump Scares, Painfully Slow Projectile boulders that kill the messenger in 1 hit while forcing them to dodge in a narrow area, and shifting to a (reverse) third-person perspective to enhance the experience.
- The Face of the Sun: It's the player's face, and the messenger's ultimate goal.
- Feelies: In a sense. You unlock printable paper folding projects so you can make your own "collectibles".
- First Person Snapshooter: There's an in-game camera that the messenger can use to take pictures of the surroundings and themselves. You can use in-game currency to purchase additional filters for the camera such as Sepia or Black and White. The Black and White filter allows you to see ghosts similar to Fatal Frame.
- Gainax Ending: The package contains a pop-up picture book of all of the messenger's adventures. The Aesop as stated by the narrators is that you, the player, should imagine and create your own stories rather than simply enjoying stories created by other people.
- Grievous Harm with a Body: Your most often used attack will be grabbing enemies that are knocked down and throwing them at others.
- Heroic Mime: Atoi and Iota are not voiced, though they have grunts and worried shrieks from time to time.
- Hope Spot: Your messenger tends to reach various objects that can help them deliver their message. At this point, expect one or both of the Unreliable Narrators give the messenger a Diabolus ex Machina.
- Horse of a Different Color: You can ride a pig in some levels.
- Lemony Unreliable Narrator: The game actually has two, competing for attention. And, besides describing Scenery Porn to kick off levels, they are particularly cruel storytellers too, affecting the player character in various twisted ways.
- Make Me Wanna Shout: An ability has the player yelling into the Vita, which makes your character let out a yell that knocks back foes and straightens the folded paper for certain puzzles.
- Medium Blending: There's this papercraft-styled world, which is mixed with your face on the sun and also the finger that appears in various puzzles...
- Mini-Game: TONS. Basketball, cutout creation, photography...it'd be a terrifying task to list them all.
- Papa Wolf/Mama Bear: The reason why Wendigos attack you at first. Once you find/rescue the baby Wendigo and return it to them, they become friendly.
- Regenerating Health: With few exceptions, the messenger is a Two Hit Point Wonder. Getting hit results in a heart stamp appearing on the upper right corner of the screen with some beeping. Spend some time without taking damage and the stamp goes away.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: Baby Wendigos. Just look at them! Compare them to their more vicious grown-up selves, you won't think they're the same creature.
- Scenery Porn: The papercraft world is beautiful to behold.
- Schrödinger's Player Character: Seems to be this way for now.
- Sdrawkcab Name: Iota is Atoi backwards and vice versa.
- Temporary Platform: Prevalent in the game, but fortunately not Bottomless Pits. Falling usually results in forcing the messenger to climb back up, or losing the pickups on top of the platforms, though.
- Wall Walk: The messengers can do this with sticky walls.
- You Have Researched Breathing: Your messenger doesn't know how to jump of their own accord until the second world. Before then, pressing the button to jump will just display a confused thought bubble.