PaRappa's been in the hip-hop game longer than most rappers. This sequel to his debut title is full of fresh rhymes that'll keep your head bobbin' and thumbs tappin' so pick up the microphone and start spittin' wit' ya dog.
It's hard to believe that PaRappa the Rapper 2 first came out more than a dozen years ago. If you've played the original then don't expect this sequel to throw any curveballs since it's basically played the exact same way except it's a lot prettier this time around. For the unfamiliar, you play PaRappa the Rapper by tapping buttons along with icons that appear on screen. You need perfect timing if you want to master every track so practice will definitely pay off. As you work your way through the story, you'll meet a bunch of wacky pals and foes to rap with. Generally, PaRappa just copies their raps verse after verse so I guess freestyling isn't his forte. Anyway, seeing familiar friends like Chop Chop Master Onion, Sunny Funny, Katy Kat, and PJ Berri in their new next-gen forms is a delight. The entire cast creates such an infectious upbeat atmosphere that it's hard not to smile while you rap and watch the story sequences play.
PaRappa the Rapper 2's story revolves around the fact that food is starting to turn into noodles. There's nothing more disappointing than going to your favourite burger joint only to leave with a bun full of pasta. It goes without saying that PaRappa won't stand for this but does he have what it takes to get to the root of the problem and return food back to its original form? I gotta believe! Each stage boasts its own unique song which are surprisingly more varied than they were in PaRappa's first adventure. You'll probably find some tracks sticking in your head for days after putting the game down. As with the first game, the controls are simple to the point where anyone familiar with a PlayStation controller can play with no instructions whatsoever. The combination of great music and pick-up-and-play gameplay makes PaRappa the Rapper 2 just as if not more enjoyable than its predecessor.
Although there are only eight stages to work through, a few additional features are worth exploring. Besides just playing by yourself, you can also play competitively against a pal or a computer-controlled opponent. This can make for a good time but the fun doesn't last longer than a few rounds. Whenever you manage to do well in a stage, Master Onion presents you with an additional bonus stage. These are nice distractions but they tend to get repetitive quickly. If you find things too challenging then you can switch to easy mode which is good news for all the half-steppers out there. Finally, you can save and watch replays if you want to relive some particularly ill rhymes. Oh, there are a bunch of secrets, too, but I'll let you discover those on your own.
PaRappa the Rapper 2 is a joy to play but a couple of issues cut the fun short. First of all, there are only eight stages and once you pass them, you'll probably be content enough to not pick it up again for a while. Only perfectionists who feel a need to master everything will play it for longer than a couple of hours. The second issue is that in an era where rhythm games have evolved with exponentially immersive gameplay mechanics, PaRappa the Rapper simply doesn't stay interesting for long. Just tapping different buttons gets stale quite fast so don't even expect to be interested enough to complete the handful of included stages.
PaRappa's been around for almost twenty years and his age is really starting to show. Although this iteration is full of delightful characters, fantastic music, and simple gameplay; it still might not be enough to dig up if you're not an existing fan.
- + Colourful world and upbeat characters all wrapped in a charmingly absurd story
- + Great soundtrack filled with catchy tunes
- + Easy to pick up and play
- - Very short experience with only eight stages to work through
- - Simplistic gameplay gets repetitive fast