PaRappa the Rapper is often regarded as a PlayStation One classic and in honour of its 20th anniversary, Sony has revitalised the game with a clean lick of paint. In terms of features, this remake adds the ability to use the DualShock’s vibration to “Feel the Beat” but offer little else. It does, however, translate its signature style to today’s high-definition standards. It’s a beautiful game and whilst I can’t claim to have owned PaRapper back in the day, I do retain fond memories of playing the title’s opening level on an Official PlayStation magazine demo disc. It wasn’t much, but seeing an onion man teach a young dog Karate to a funky rhythm has stuck with me to this day.
Built as a rhythm game PaRapper the Rapper revolves around syncing your button presses (L1, R1, Circle, Triangle, Square or X) to on-screen prompts – the better your timing, the higher your score and the happier your headlining teacher will become. There are a handful of levels and each one focuses on one specific character with their own rap challenge. It’s a ton of silly fun that looks great and also offers some catchy tunes, too.
That said, for a rhythm game it can be incredibly frustrating to master. There are four ratings that your rapping skill can fall into: awful, bad, good and cool. The latter relies on your ability to perform free-style rapping in a way that the game thinks is good, yet on many occasions the game said I was stumbling, despite seemingly hitting the buttons at the correct time. No matter what I did I couldn’t fully grasp the correct rhythm, but eventually I did come a little closer to understanding it. Overall, it took a while to wrap my head around the tricky controls, but PaRappa’s awesome tunes and visuals kept me coming back for more. It sure is rewarding to master that funky flow, eventually.