A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that PaRappa the Rapper Remastered is an updated downloadable version of the 1996 PlayStation rhythm game. In many respects, this game and series helped popularize the genre that includes Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Rather than shred on familiar pop songs, though, the game is essentially a "Simon says" version of rapping. Although this game is a remaster, very little has been done to offer supplemental or extra features, but there's no inappropriate content.
What's it about?
PARAPPA THE RAPPER REMASTERED's story is intentionally outlandish -- you play as PaRappa, a rapping dog, who is trying to win the heart of a flower named Sunny Funny. You're competing for her affection with a jerky dog named Joe Chin, and to overcome his intimidation tactics, you seek the counsel of an onion who owns a karate dojo, a frog who runs a flea market, a moose who drives, and a few other characters.
Is it any good?
This rhythm game is amusing and incredibly creative, but this game, flaws and all, have barely been touched at all. That's the most disappointing aspect and biggest brag about PaRappa Remastered: For the first time in 20 years, the game is finally playable on a non-PlayStation 1 system. It was ported to the handheld PSP system 10 years ago, but it suffered from severe issues affecting its input latency -- a critical feature on a rhythm game. But PaRappa has been unplayable in any form until now, which is what makes this new version such a letdown: They didn't add anything new at all, except for the ability to have your controller rumble to the beat of the song you're rapping through. Even still, some later levels will make you question whether you know how to play the game, just like the PSP version did. But to label this a remastered version and not offer any supplemental or new materials -- likely due to rights-management hassles -- makes it hard to pretend there's a ton that's new.
Still, the core game is plenty fun and looks better for the graphical improvements. Gone is the jagged polygon look of the old game, which looked funky -- not in a retro way, but an ugly way -- and in its place is a slick look. Whether or not you've played this game before, everyone should play and experience it because people of all ages will find something to get a kick out of. It's a reminder of when and how video games didn't feel the obligation to be violent, were willing to appeal to people who didn't care about games, and let games be refreshingly weird without taking themselves so seriously. Just having the ability to play the game once again is a big deal, but it also could have been so much more.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why software, movies, and TV shows "reboot" or come out with new versions. PaRappa is a visual overhaul of the original game, but would people want this instead of the original?
What do you wish you had more confidence about? Why? How do you think you could achieve it?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4
- Price: $14.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Sony Interactive Entertainment
- Release date: April 4, 2017
- Genre: Music and Dance
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Friendship, High School, Misfits and Underdogs, Music and Sing-Along
- ESRB rating: E for Comic Mischief
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.