Did Tearaway ignite a fire in your soul?
Are you craving games that manage to successfully blend their art and mechanics into one thoughtful package?
Well, I feel sorry for you. That shit is rare. To pretend that you haven’t heard of games like The Wind Waker, Okami, and Kirby’s Epic Yarn is ridiculous, as their marriage of art and play has earned them plenty of praise and attention.
Luckily, there’s a dark house. A game so overlooked it doesn’t have its own Wikipedia page. Can you imagine that? Every Game Boy Micro faceplate has its own Wiki page, for Pete’s sake.
Patchwork Heroes is that hidden gem, a gorgeous title whose beauty extends beyond the surface.
Developed by Acquire and Sony’s C.A.M.P. program (Creator Audition Mash up Project!) , Patchwork Heroes was released for the PSP as a download exclusive (why so few know about this game is beyond me…). While not afforded the best opportunities, Patchwork overcame such difficulties with a pretty face and the brains to match.
As implied by the title, the game’s world seems to be composed of scraps, a society welded together from parts of a better past. The player controls Titori, a young man tasked with disposing of an enemy fleet. Much like the world he hails from, these warships are thrown together with whatever materials were on hand. Armed with only a saw, Titori must hack his way across these warships, taking them apart bit by bit. Enemies crawl along these flying bases, but with the help of rescued comrades, they’re no more an obstacle than the task at hand.
Crafting a beautiful world, only to have me wanting to destroy it in the same instant is quite the feat. The way the warships are designed is genius; by having them appear to be these separate pieces of materials slapped together, the object of cutting them into smaller chunks is made all the easier. You can practically see just where to make your cuts. It’s a perfect example of art aiding the mechanics in place.
The game’s visuals also help in creating a feeling of tension similar to that of the Pikmin series. Each of the partners you rescue has a unique look, age and name. When forced to sacrifice one as a bomb, I feel as though I’m sacrificing a brother in arms. It’s sad, and although her drifts away on a parachute after the explosion, your heart still sinks as you’re just a little bit lonelier on this mission. Having them die is even worse! Making contact with an enemy will instantly claim their life, with their portrait thrown onto the screen with DEAD slapped upon it. It’s sad, and not how I wanted to complete this mission damnit!
It’s not recommended to wrap up a session of Patchwork Heroes then go looking for its acclaim on the internet. Despite some great reviews, there doesn’t seem to be a Twitter campaign to release a sequel, and even it’s dedicated Wikia is incomplete and pretty depressing. I’m asking for a lot, but maybe, just maybe, you’ll find it in your heart to check this game out and spread the word.
Patchwork Heroes can be purchased for the PSP and Vita, either on the system itself or from Sony’s online store, for $7.99.