Dojo, casino, it’s all in the mind…
Rhythm game rockstar Lammy and her music prowess are the stars in the PlayStation title UmJammer Lammy. Like her paper-thin cousin Parappa, Lammy is a master of rhythm and style, but her choice of weapon is the guitar. Lammy, with her all-mighty axe, shreds through fires, crying babies, lumberjack beavers and all other kinds of zany obstacles in a hilarious pint-sized adventure of head-nodding tunes, whimsical solos and all around fun.
Set in the same universe as PaRappa the Rapper, UmJammer Lammy is an indirect sequel that features a new character: Lammy, a socially shy lamb who plays the guitar for Milkcan. Lammy and her band cohorts are set to play a gig, but on the day of her show Lammy wakes up extremely late. With only 15 minutes to reach the venue, she bum-rushes her way out the door and bolts down the street and into plenty of over-the-top characters.
UmJammer Lammy, like its rap predecessor, is an absurd and funny game; and it definitely shows in the in the narrative. The denizens of the in-game world are humorous and vibrant. From the ex-war-pilot whose personality changes every time he hits his head to the return of Chop Chop master onion, the cast of characters makes the lovable world even more lovable. UmJammer Lammy is fun and silly; look forward jumping form stage to stage as more of the colorful game unravels at a great tempo.
Speaking of tempo, the music in the game is fantastic. Very much like the memorable songs in PaRappa the Rapper, UmJammer Lammy brings forth a fresh slew of catchy tunes that will leave players asking, “Did I eat my drinks?” And when the music is paired alongside the context of the colorful levels, UmJammer Lammy often feels like an interactive cartoon music video. The seven main songs offer a fun variety of different musical styles that fit the guitar-heavy game brilliantly. The quick twelve bar blues of “Baby Baby” in the third level and the final level’s “Got to Move” are my favorite tracks in the entire game, however, each level easily sports a fun beat. Going through the game once again just to hear the a certain song will not be uncommon.
Getting into the rhythm of UmJammer Lammy is simple enough: players must hit the corresponding button at the right time. In doing so, or failing to, Lammy will either play a sweet guitar riff or bumble through wrong notes like a person who’s never played guitar before. Players will move up and down a scale ranging from “Cool” to “Awful” depending on how well they do. This being a rhythm game of course, timing is everything and UmJammer Lammy has an interesting difficulty curve. Just when players seem to shuffle into the groove, some levels throw a rhythm wrench into the mix because there is less room for errors between notes. It may seem like you’ve pressed the right button at the right time only to find your level rating moving lower and lower. It isn’t impossible to get through UmJammer Lammy, but there will be plenty of last minute screw ups that will leave players hitting “Try Again” once again. Thankfully, thumbing through each song will be as fun as it was the last time.
If there’s one thing UmJammer Lammy packs in fistfuls, it’s style. The soundtrack is great, the characters awesome and the graphics are aesthetically unique. Each character is not only some humorous animal or vegetable pasted on a human body, but a thin, paper cutout. There’s always something to notice with UmJammer Lammy’s graphical style such as how the 2D characters funnily shuffle around in a 3D space. Even for a title released in 1999, the look and feel of UmJammer Lammy is surprisingly refreshing.
When players are finished rocking Lammy’s missions, a separate Parappa storyline and multiplayer mode are unlocked. Parappa’s levels are the same as Lammy’s, however the songs are altered to fit the rapping canine’s lyrical style. Parappa’s version of the main songs aren’t as strong, but are very welcomed because these tunes are still as fun to go through as the main game. The extra missions also go as as far as to give Parappa and PJ Berri their own hilarious back story that slightly touches upon Lammy’s adventures. Inspired by Lammy and MilkCan, Parappa and PJ seek to form their own rock and roll group as well, and the results are absolutely funny. As for the multiplayer mode, it’s divided into a cooperative adventure and versus levels. The secondplayer can either play as Rammy, Lammy’s evil doppelganger, or the rapping pooch himself, Parappa.
UmJammer Lammy is a fun rhythm game of the past that is as strong as it’s predecessor, PaRappa the Rapper. It brings back the fun, paper universe and expands on it through a new rocking set of songs, a light and humorous atmosphere and brand new characters. Rhythm game fanatics must check out this old-school gem.