Pinokl Games / tinyBuild
Reviewed on: PC (exclusive)
I step out of the elevator and onto the roof of the building. Music blares from speakers as I scan the room. Forty-eight guests, two bouncers. Only one way down for the people here, and it ain’t gonna be through the elevator. I walk to the controls for the lighted dance floor, and get to work on overloading them. The panels spark and sputter, and in a matter of seconds everyone standing on them goes up in a blaze of neon sparks. Thirty-six down, fourteen to go. I step back towards the elevator as the doors open and…a bear. There’s a goddamn bear in the elevator wearing sunglasses.
Welcome to Party Hard. The game’s story is told in between levels in the form of an interview with a detective investigating the Party Hard Killer, a guy who snapped after being woken up one too many times at 3 a.m. You play as the killer, and are tasked with finding new and creative ways to murder everyone at every single party you attend. Gameplay is simple, with all complex traps handled by one button. You can pick people off one by one, or risk quicker kills at the cost of being chased around the party by police officers that give up after about thirty seconds of pursuit. Each level generally contains one or two traps unique to the environment, as well as a handful of hazards that carry across levels. Granted, there are never enough to wipe out the entire guest list, so you’ll inevitably have to resort to the ol’ hide-and-stab for the last couple dozen people. Graphics are a simple pixelated affair, and the music, while mostly forgettable, has a few moments of chiptune brilliance. The game plays easily enough, but the weirdly specific AI is laughable to a disturbing degree. Here’s a quick quiz: thirty of the fifty guests at this party have turned up dead at some point in the evening. Do you:
A) Call the cops and get the hell out
B) Find the nearest weapon and gather survivors to hunt for the killer, or
C) Grab something from the snack bar and keep dancing?
If you answered C, congratulations, you’re an NPC in Party Hard! Police will confront you if you’re carrying around a corpse, but apparently lugging around someone who’s just sleeping is perfectly fine, even if you’re dragging them conspicuously close to that open manhole down the street. Apart from the weird existential horror of people happily oblivious to the mounting pile of corpses surrounding them, the game is a nice challenge. Each level is a puzzle requiring you to make the most of the environment to lure people into traps in a timely manner. Difficulty ramps up at a manageable level, even though some zones have traps that are much easier to use than others. The voice acting added to the story segments is at best unnecessary and at worst sounds like it was recorded underwater by an actor who’d just finished doing his taxes. There are a handful of playable characters unlocked through achievements, but by the time you get them you’ll have already completed a majority of the game, and replay value for levels is nearly nonexistent. As an odd little experiment in stealth gaming, Party Hard works most of the time, but a lot of its humor falls flat, and some of the bigger parties become exercises in simply waiting for people to go into side rooms so you can dispose of them without police interference. The game is reasonably priced on Steam, but even then, it may warrant waiting for a sale before finalizing a purchase. Party responsibly.