Paparazzi lets you experience the adrenaline-filled life of a tabloid photographer. Chasing celebs and ferreting out the best photo ops is not only exciting, but can be lucrative too if you’ve got a good eye and quick shutter finger.
In your quest to bag the coveted front page photo for your local gossip rag, you’ll have to demonstrate both well-developed powers of observation and quick reflexes to stay one step ahead of your reluctant celebrity subjects.
The game borrows elements from both Mystery Case Files and Mirror Match. Each “assignment” begins with a tip off from one of your informants, who gives you the skinny on the latest gossip surrounding a particular celebrity. There’s the fashion model who has no fashion sense, the pop tart who lip synchs all her songs, and the actress with an addiction to buying little purse-sized dogs, to name three.
From your informant you’ll get a list of items you’ll need to find and photograph in a given location to prove that the rumour is true. For example, for the lapdog-obsessed actress you’ll have to photograph evidence like brushes, collars and doggy bones. Like the Mystery Case Files series, each location is filled with so much clutter that finding the specific items can often pose quite a challenge. You’ll get cash for every item successfully photographed, but will be penalized for missed shots. Since your editor isn’t interested in yesterday’s news, you’ll also have to find the items within a certain timeframe in order to meet the newspaper’s deadline.
Once enough items have been found and photographed, you move on to the next part of the assignment, where the celebrities have tried to cover their tracks by making changes to a particular location. By comparing “before” and “after” pictures of the same room side by side, you must make note of differences between the two. Objects might be different colours and sizes, moved to a different spot or simply disappeared altogether.
The third phase of the assignments gives you a chance to rack in some extra bonus cash by getting snapshots of the target celebrity – as well as a special animated mystery item –
as they dart in and out of the scenery.
Paparazzi never deviates from this three-part format, but it doesn’t need to because it’s a formula that works very well. The entertaining story (complete with snide and not-so-subtle references to characters modeled after our real-life tabloid headline fodder) serves as the glue that holds everything together.
If Paparazzi has a flaw it’s that it’s pretty easy to blow through the levels – as entertaining as they may be. However, after completing the game the first time, you’re given the opportunity to play through a second time to look for new items that have been added to each level, which does significantly increase Paparazzi’s value proposition.
The music is also on the generic side, and I found myself preferring to play with the sound off.
The gossip celebrity angle of Paparazzi puts an extremely cool new spin on tried-and-true formats that have already proven to be popular in other games. Quibbles aside, the game is a fantastic debut that could easily form the premise for a healthy and long-running series.