In the seventies and eighties, there was a real push to be creative, on TV at least. If you weren't encouraged to produce your own Tracey Island out of bits of loo roll and other crap, you were invited to draw something, that didn't even have to resemble anything in the slightest, and send it in to Tony Hart to appear in his picture gallery to music.
These days though, creativity appears to have taken a back seat; today kids are just thrown smart phones and tablets to keep them quiet. The days of Morph are dead.
There is a light of hope on the horizon however, and it goes by the name of Media Molecule. These are the guys behind the incredibly creative LittleBigPlanet franchise that introduced us to the customisable Sackboy universe.
Their latest game has the same kind of arts and crafts sensibility, but offers something different in its beautifully designed 3D world.
Its story is a simple one. You play a messenger – actually, you are the message itself – that has to work its way through various paper-constructed environments, to be delivered to you – represented by a sunny version of the player as captured by the Vita's camera.
Of course there are various obstacles that get in your way. There are one or two enemies, but they're hardly the most taxing foe to overcome. But it's no biggie; this is a game that is a true adventure, wrapped in a gorgeously presented paper-made world.
You can tell that Media Molecule got very hands on with the Vita as they utilise every inch of the machine, with the cameras, rear touch pad, touch screen and even the microphone all taking part in the fun. Is it all a bit too gimmicky? Perhaps, but there's no denying the extreme fun factor involved. Tearaway is one of those rarest of games that takes a cut and pasted grin and plasters it to your face every time you play it.
Along the way you will need to keep your digits ready for action. Often they will be needed to poke through the underside of your Vita to manipulate the environ; this might involve moving a platform from one side of the screen to the other, to allow you access to the other side. Or it might be to tap underneath a drum to give you extra height to the next platform. Or it might well be just to design a crown for a friendly squirrel to wear.
Although there's little sign posting in the game, you'll very rarely find yourself in a corner you can't get out of. Worst case scenario will mean you have to explore your surroundings a little bit more, and in a game so utterly beguiling as this, that's no bad thing.
One of the most pleasing aspects of the game – although to be fair, there are a fair number to choose from – is the use of the in-game camera. Your character has one he carries around with him that allows him to take piccies of all the wonders around him. There are also a large number of items that he has to take pictures of; these are hidden around the world and appear in black and white. Once you've taken a picture of it, it turns to colour, which is a nice touch. What can happen next however is a touch of creative genius.
Once the item has been captured, it gives you access to the instructions on a website to print out an actual paper version of it that can then be constructed in the real world. It's a fab way of using technology to get those who play it – young and old – physically creative. It would certainly put a smile on Tony Hart's face, for sure.
There is however, one noticeable chink in the game's paper armour, and that's its length; it's disappointingly short. But then, as a relatively budget title at around the twenty quid mark, it is worth every single penny. It has a pretty good replay value too, with all the bits and pieces that need to be collected along the way.
Media Molecule have come up with yet another impressive title; Tearaway has enough elements to make it the perfect companion franchise to LittleBigPlanet, but also enough ingenuity, flair and creativity to make it stand proudly on its own two paper mached feet.
Just when you think that the games industry had run out of original ideas, a game of such a high calibre as this comes along.
If you own a Vita, and are a fan of quirky titles in a similar vein to Katamari, Locoroco and of course LittleBigPlanet, this is about as much of a must-have title as you can possibly get.