Title: Party Hard
Available On: PC, Xbox One, PS4
Tested On: Xbox One
Where To Buy: Steam, Xbox Store, PSN Store
Have you ever found yourself trying to sleep whilst your obnoxious housemate hosts, what seems like, the loudest party ever? Banged on the wall, screamed and smiled with satisfaction as the volume drops? Imagine taking this impulse even further and murdering each and every attendee. This is Party Hard. A pixel art, murderous puzzler where the party may last just a little too long.
Party Hard follows the story of a sadistic, serial killer attending gatherings across the country with the intent of being the last one standing. Whereas this is usually achieved with the consumption of energy drinks, Party Hard pursues a slightly more savage approach. You play as Darius who grows frustrated by a local party preventing his nightly routine. Armed with a small knife, Darius ignores the standard protocol of calling the police and systematically slaughters everyone from the bouncers to the DJ.
The narrative focuses on Darius’s increasing bloodlust, as he travels between parties, leaving a trail of bodies behind. Detective John West, who leads the investigation, has his own motivation for catching the perpetrator as his own daughter suffered at the hands of the maniac at the first party. The story gives context to the party locations and circumstances surrounding them. You are only treated to these small cinematic scenes during loading times though as participating in these massacres are why you will be playing Party Hard.
The first level is a standard, college party seen in teen films. Shady characters smoke around a bonfire, lightweights fall asleep in the bathroom and raunchy adolescents fondle around the side of the house. Approaching the party, you have a challenging task ahead of you as fifty or more people could be attending the rave. Killing these party-goers is as simple as pressing a button to quickly stab them. The obstacle is the witnesses. Armed with a small amount of stamina, chasing potential spectators can be impossible and soon, after a call to the law enforcement, a cop has a warrant for your arrest. Evading the pursuing policeman is an option, however, each time you allude them, they will return faster and more determined than before. Being spotted is not the most effective method to stop the party so you can either eliminate victims out of eyeshot or use other tools available to you.
Although the structure of the level remains the same, the activity within them will change each time. Aside from the numbers attending the affair, entire rooms can transform too. What was once a lounge room could become a meth lab. A group of dancers could be replaced by a drug deal which ultimately is raided by armed SWAT officers who assist you in reducing the number of victims. This diversity and unpredictability will have you adapting to your surroundings.
Regardless of the layout, the objective remains the same. Kill everyone. The ever-changing level will assist you with this perverse goal. A punch bowl can be poisoned, a gas canister ignited or you can even lure an advancing cop into a deadly bear trap. Utilizing these lethal weapons will drastically reduce the popularity of the party and as the numbers plummet, the level becomes increasingly tense.
As you reach the last dozen, opportunities are harder to come by. Thankfully, you are blessed with terrible dance moves so offensive, others will walk away from you shouting profanities behind them. Be careful though as annoying them too much may result in them beating you unconscious. As you stop the party with the exceptionally gruesome death of the DJ, you ironically dance alone like a maniac on the dance floor.
As you progress through the game, you visit a number of exotic locations and parties. Penthouse suites, executive yachts and even a party bus. Each has a brilliant soundtrack, which although on a loop, never outstayed its welcome. Each stage retains the random ethos with new haphazard such as wood-chippers, dancing bears and an infestation of zombies. Each level looks significantly different but I was shocked to see that, given the fact there are only a handful of stages available, one was a direct copy of a previous mission.
Sadly, the assortments of toys to play with can become dull and repetitive. Although at first, assassinating a large group with an explosion is fun, it soon becomes protocol. The majority of the killings are accomplished by the using the boring method of picking up a sleeping drunk, moving them to a secluded spot and murdering them discretely. The biggest frustration arises when the unfair AI can see you perform this act when seemingly behind cover. A particular level took me an hour to complete simply because of these frustrations which in turn found me becoming reckless to progress past the level. Party Hard is a game of patience yet instead of the meticulous nature feeling rewarding, it just became inattentive.
When the campaign is completed and depending on your performance, new characters can become available to you. Although they have similar skill-sets to Darius, they do differ slightly. A chainsaw wielding psycho can briefly decimate a number of people in a small radius whereas the crooked cop can accuse others of being the perpetrator. More bizarre levels unlock once the story has concluded too but the same formula remains.
Party Hard begins with an exciting concept. Being influenced by gory, pixel art games such as Hotline Miami; this mature, arcade slaughter fest has a lot of potential. Unfortunately, as in real life, returning to the same bar every weekend came become predictable and uneventful which parallels the issues within Party Hard. More diversity, modes and challenges could have reinvigorated this party but it should have called time a little earlier.
- Gameplay: Stealth Party Killings
- Graphics: Pixelated Gore
- Sound: Awesome Soundtrack
- Presentation: Simple Story, Fun Mechanics
- Fun Premise
- Random Levels
- Fun Kills
- Lacks Variation
- Unfair AI