For anyone who missed out on PaRappa the Rapper back in the days of the original PlayStation, it’s a little story about an anthropomorphic dog doing various raps to impress a lady. Well, technically a flower lady, but a love interest nonetheless. In a series of cartoon-style japes, PaRappa tries various ways to get his girl, Sunny Funny. But ultimately, the gameplay is all about rapping your little doggy heart out.
Similar to other rhythm-based games, like Guitar Hero or Rhythm Paradise, it’s all about hitting the right buttons on your PS4 controller in time with the music. Miss too many or go too far out of time and your rating will drop from “U rappin’ cool” to “U rappin’ awful” and you’ll have to start all over again.
Whether you’re spinning some beats about making a cake or learning how to drive, the gameplay is the same, but the songs are all different and incredibly catchy.
Now, PaRappa the Rapper is back on PS4 with a wonderful remaster that captures all that made the original great.
U rappin’ cool
What’s great about PaRappa the Rapper Remastered is that even with snazzy new HD graphics for the main gameplay sections, the cutscenes are still 2D marvels that take you right back to the 1990s. PaRappa and co. are gloriously 2D, almost paper-like creatures and the cutscenes play out like a strange kids’ TV show. The motto, “You just gotta believe”, is reinforced throughout and never fails to put a smile on your face, despite its palpable cheesiness.
There’s a delightful innocence about PaRappa the Rapper that wasn’t quite obvious playing it as a child. Rap music tends to deal with romance and other bigger issues with a very adult spin, but the rapping here is about things like making enough money to fix a car or really needing a poop when the line is too long. It’s silly but absolutely brilliant in the best of childish ways.
But it’s not the easiest game to play. Actually performing a successful rap requires some precision button-tapping and we regularly had to rap back the lines in time with the music to avoid dropping into the “rappin’ bad” category or worse.
And the difficulty curve isn’t to be messed with either. What starts off as easy beats with Chop Chop Master Onion ramps up to irritation city by the time you meet Cheap Cheap the chicken chef. In fact, the number of times we had to repeat that same section nearly sent us clucking mad.
The characters are absolutely brilliant, though, so even repeating a section won’t make you hate them – especially as they have different reactions based on how well you’re rapping. We’re particularly fond of the Rastafarian frog, Prince Fleaswallow, who helps out PaRappa in his hour of need.
U rappin’ bad
In fact, the only problem with PaRappa the Rapper is its length. Priced at $14.99/£11.99, PaRappa the Rapper Remastered isn’t exactly the priciest of games, but at only a couple of hours long, the price can feel a little steep. Even with our frustrations with Cheap Cheap, we beat PaRappa the Rapper in one lazy Sunday afternoon.
There’s also whether it’ll resonate with a more modern audience. For us, PaRappa the Rapper is mostly aimed at those who played it when it was first released back in 1996, rather than anyone else. Otherwise, the brilliance of the cutscenes remaining intact will probably be lost on anyone who didn’t experience it the first time around.
And those that did will notice that PaRappa’s voice isn’t the same this time either, which is something that made us a little bit sad after looking at YouTube vids of the original.
Is PaRappa the Rapper Remastered good?
PaRappa the Rapper Remastered is a brilliant revival of an excellent slice of PlayStation nostalgia. It might not work for everyone, but if you’re a fan of PaRappa or rhythm games in general, this is a great buy.
Just prepare to have the songs stuck in your head for days to come.
PaRappa the Rapper Remastered launches worldwide on April 4, exclusively on PS4.