Paparazzi

Paparazzi Review

TMZ: the video game

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing a PlayStation 4 on

Paparazzi is also available for Wii U

ESRB Everyone rating

If you've ever wanted to know what it's like to pester celebrities then here's your chance. Paparazzi allows you and a friend to play as a paparazzo and celebrity in an interesting take on the classic cat and mouse formula. Grab your camera; it's time for a photo shoot!

Paparazzi screenshot 1
Bear on a Trike blends in to the crowd at the Zooby Dooby Zoo

Players can either play as a star or photographer. Although the controls are extremely simple, each role has its own scheme. While taking photos, you move a rectangular overlay across the screen while tapping a button to try and photograph a celebrity who runs and dashes around. They can also hide behind virtually anything such as a crowd of people, a building, or a bush. A tug-of-war style meter at the top of the screen visually represents who's in the lead with money on one side (which grows according to how many successful pictures the paparazzo takes and shrinks with unsuccessful ones), and dignity on the other (which shows how well the star is managing to evade the press while also grabbing the attention of fans). A few power-ups are included to assist the star in the form of an invisibility potion, a fire drink that makes them lightning fast, and the ability to unleash clone decoys. As you and your friend play hide and seek in the complex environments, it can be quite an exciting back and forth battle of wits.

The graphics are rendered with rudimentary blocky pixels, yet it feels fresh with appealing visual effects and chaotic animations. You'll face off in areas like a studio lot, ballroom, and city. Each of the six automatically scrolling environments does a great job of setting itself apart from the rest and is full of enough character to make you want to explore them all. Even though they can be visually hectic at times, this actually makes the game more exciting since both players can potentially lose track of the celebrity at any given point. That's right, when you play as the star, you may not know where you are from time to time. The music is jazzy and upbeat with every stage having its own song that fits it perfectly. It's great to see yet another indie game with this much effort put into the soundtrack.

Paparazzi screenshot 2
Clones of Tuke surf on Sandwater Beach

On the downside, Paparazzi only consists of a one player mode and a two player mode. All you basically do is set up a match then play for about a minute and that's it. Aside from the six stages, you can also choose from seven characters who differ merely in appearance. That being said, they are quite creative and quirky so switching them up adds to the overall enjoyment. Besides playing just for fun, there is absolutely no replay value. Even in single player, there are no unlockables or any content that offers a sense of progression. If there were such incentives then Paparazzi would be a much more fulfilling experience. This is an undeniably disappointing aspect because it's a game that you'd want to embrace, but there simply isn't enough to love.

Because of the lack of replay incentives, you'll primarily play with a friend. It's a ton of fun at the start, but you'll quickly exhaust all there is to do after playing a handful of rounds. You may pick it up once in a while although it'll eventually get forgotten in the depths of your game library. Single player offers even less replay value. You have the option of selecting the difficulty, but you're forced to play as the celebrity. Why can't you play as the paparazzo? It doesn't make sense as it only further limits the amount of fun that you can have.

Paparazzi screenshot 3
Jabrillion Eastboy gets a photo snapped in the Danceclub Night Club

Paparazzi is a wonderfully presented indie with a lot of potential. However, the lack of content and replayability severely hinder it from being a worthwhile download since playing it for only a matter of minutes will be enough to fully experience all there is to see and do.

  • + Simple pick-up-and-play gameplay that anyone can easily understand and enjoy
  • + Awesome soundtrack and pixel art graphics
  • + Can be a great deal of fun for two players
  • - Very little amount of content with no sense of progression whatsoever
  • - Single player is limited and not much fun
  • - Enjoyment factor is incredibly short-lived
5.2 out of 10
Gameplay video for Paparazzi 1:20

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