Developer – Pinokl Games, Kverta
Publisher – tinyBuild
Release Date – August 25th 2015
Genre – Action, Stealth, Strategy
Platforms – PC, iOS, Android, XBox One, PS4
Price – £9.99 (Steam)
Have you ever been in that situation where noisy neighbours are preventing you from sleeping? Of course you have. It’s early morning, you have to get up for work in a few hours, but because of some inconsiderate idiots, you’re unable to let your imagination whisk you off to the world of dreams. Now, how many of you have ever done something about it? Probably not many. Party Hard follows the journey of one man who decides to do something about it. Something very permanent.
So to get some of the basic details out of the way, this little gem comes to you having been created by Pinokl Games and published by tinyBuild. It’s currently available across multiple platforms including iOS, Android, X-Box One, and PS4, but this review will be covering the PC version.
The basic plot of Party Hard is to kill your way across a variety of social gatherings across the USA using any means necessary while not getting caught. Oh that’s right. You didn’t think you could just kill lots of pixellated party goers and not be punished did you? That’s where the strategy comes into play. While being the last one standing at each location is your goal, the best way to accomplish that is to not get caught. If any revellers catch you in the act of brutally murdering someone, they’ll head to the nearest phone and summon the cops. Then with an image of handcuffs looming above your head and a limited stamina bar to work with, you have to try your best to evade the pursuing police officer. If somehow, you’re able to avoid capture for a period of time, the cop will give up, but with a warning that they’ll be back. If you’re then careless enough to draw attention to your criminal activity, the returning law enforcement will move much quicker than the last time, making your survival of the level that much more difficult.
The game mechanics are very well put together from top to bottom. You don’t just have to rely on your knife when dispatching your prey on each level. There are numerous environmental traps that you can set up which include, but are not limited to poisoning the punch and setting various vehicles to drive off on their own. In fact, I would go as far as to suggest that the knife you carry should be considered the last resort and the environmental kills should be the methods to aim for. They are numerous and entertaining, and also provide a tremendous amount of replay value. While luck will also play a small part in your success or failure, it won’t be the deciding factor by any stretch. Strategising and appropriate planning will pay off. If I were to throw one negative into the mix however, it would be that when the police are called, if you evade capture, the party goers just go back to normal as if nothing has happened. Either it’s because they’re drunk or the developers weren’t sure how to have them respond in that situation. At the same time, it’s a minor factor that most people wouldn’t even notice if they weren’t looking for it.
Revisiting the replay value of Party Hard, as well as the myriad combinations of silencing the loud party goers, you’ll find that the learning curve is steady, but not too steep. Each level will present you with unique challenges in remaining uncaught, and you will be forced to plan out your approach each time, but at the same time, the game never becomes frustrating enough to drive you away. All in all, with the initial number of levels available to play through, you should probably expect to play to the end of the game in around six to eight hours. However, you can easily get twice as much play time from the game based on the variety of murder methods available to you. That plus the very reasonably priced High Crimes DLC and the in-game level editor make Party Hard a bargain at any price.
With everything that’s been said so far, I haven’t even mentioned the story that helps the game flow from level to level. As if Party Hard wasn’t already morbid enough with the aim of killing everyone at every party you attend, there are prologues to each stage involving a conversation between the cop leading the investigation and what appears to be a therapist of some kind. These cutscenes only add to what is already a dark and entertaining game.
Moving on to the appearance of Party Hard and the proof is clear to see that you don’t need top of the line graphics to create a fun game. The pixel style is simple, yet colourful and vibrant, especially when stabbing one of your victims. The bright red puddles that appear put you in no doubt that when you’ve killed them, they’re going to stay killed. Coupled with the screams of the other party goers when they spot a body in addition to the varying party tracks, and you have a winning combination that makes for an entertaining and immersive experience.
To summarise, Party Hard is a fine example of what happens when you include all of the ingredients in the right combinations. When playing video games, you want to be able to have fun and this delivers in spades. With almost no downside to speak of, I would recommend this game all day long.
-Great mesh of art style, music & sound.
-Great replay value.
-Questionable AI behaviour after escaping the cops.
-Not a lot else really.
Started playing video games back in the 80s. Still loving it now. RPGs and retro style games are my favourites.