There’s potentially nothing more synonymous with gaming as the platformer. For so many their first heady foray into the world was leading Mario or Sonic from left to right, bouncing on the heads of all who opposed them. Over the years the genre has certainly advanced and diversified, but the joy of a precise jump, of reaching the end of a tough level, hasn’t diminished at all.
This was one of the most hotly contested categories in this year’s competition, with only one vote separating our winner from its closest rivals, with the beautiful Ori and the Blind Forest and the creative Super Mario Maker just missing out on the top spot.
It’s interesting that despite cultural shifts, improvements in technology, and of course newer genres, there’s still a place in our heart for the humble platformer, with both indie developers and huge iconic companies continuing to put stock in it. It’s perhaps no surprise though that two of our finalists come from Nintendo, who have arguably shaped the genre since its inception, and with both Mario Maker and Yoshi’s Woolly World proving that they still have an eye for enhancement and evolution that other developers would kill for.
Despite the heated competition, it’s Tearaway Unfolded that comes away with the prize. Originally appearing on the PS Vita, the papercraft platformer Tearaway remains amongst the most innovative titles for the system, making incredible use of its myriad inputs to bring gamers into the game in ways that were never previously possible.
With the marvellous Dualshock 4, Tarsier Studios and Media Molecule were able to remake the game for PS4 and successfully translate that experience across thanks to the touchpad and internal gyroscope, while also introducing new features such as using the controller’s light bar to illuminate darkened areas.
Making the most of the technology available to them, players were also able to use the PS4 camera or the PlayStation App to input drawings or textures into the game. Alongside this, the developers were able to benefit from the much greater power of the system, which not only allowed for new elements such as the paper plane section, but also meant it was possible to hit those visual benchmarks of 1080p and 60fps.
But maybe, beyond impressive visuals and smart uses of technology, it’s the pure joy that Tearaway Unfolded can illicit, from both returning players and those new to the game’s world. From its joyful outlook to its magical soundtrack, there are few platformers that can come close to the adventures of Atoi or Iota.
Runners up in alphabetical order:
- Grow Home
- Ori and the Blind Forest
- Super Mario Maker
- Yoshi’s Woolly World