Review: Party Hard – Become the Ultimate Buzzkill

Review: Party Hard  – Become the Ultimate Buzzkill
3.5

Platforms:

Windows PC, Linux, Steam

Game Name:

Party Hard

Publisher(s):

tinyBuild

Developer(s):

Pinokl Games

Genre(s):

Action, Strategy

Release Date:

August 25th, 2015

ESRB Rating:

M

Party Hard – What We Think

Was he always a deranged uber-violent psychopath, or just a man who wanted to get some sleep? Recreate the tale of the Party Hard Killer, a man who sneaks into some of the largest parties in America and slaughters each and every one of the guests.

The violence in tinyBuild‘s Party Hard can be excessive, but over the top enough to be comical. Some may find the subject matter disturbing, but get past that, and Party Hard is a frustratingly enjoyable twitch game that puts stealth and cunning at the forefront.

Party Hard game screenshot, House Party

Live While I’m Alive, Sleep When They’re Dead

It’s 3 AM, and all he can hear is the obnoxious party downstairs. College kids these days, amirite? But exactly how many such parties had occurred before his psychotic break is unclear. He dons a mask and sinks into the crowd of drunken revelers.

Whether using the keyboard or a controller, the basic moves are easily grasped. Frequently, a few party-goers may duck out into an alley or a room away from the noise. Approach someone when they are alone (preferably) and strike with your blade. Now do that several more times. Successfully wiping out a room will bring you to the next bash.

This is a far more daunting task than it sounds, as even drunken louts are going to react if they see a dead body, or worse, witness you willfully stabbing someone. The cops will be called in either case, the caller will be on high alert, and you might end up in cuffs, ending your attempt at the level.

Party Hard game screenshot, Biker Party

Gotta Dispatch ‘Em All

Naturally, stealth is crucial – but difficult to achieve in such crowded areas. It also makes for a ridiculously long slog if your tactic is to wait until everyone is alone before offing them. Instead, look for devices in the area that can eliminate multiple targets. Cars can be started and will hurtle across the screen, mashing anyone they contact. Dance floors and stage areas may have devices that can be tampered with, allowing you to eliminate multiple targets at once. Using a phone can call in a dealer who can give you one of a variety of explosive devices. Deploy one of these successfully, and you’ll get a bonus for chaining deaths together.

Having to start a level over again can be maddening, especially if you have almost eliminated everyone in a stage. In my case, I unlocked the Loser achievement by killing everyone in the room, only the last person got in a call to the cops just before dying. The po-po showed up, and I was arrested. Level failed.

Also, there is no real way to form a coherent strategy. Several elements in each level change, so you can’t count on your favorite tool of death to be present from one play to the next. While it can be chalked up to twitch gameplay, the frequent downtime waiting for one to get away from the herd sucks a lot of fun out of the game.

Party Hard game screenshot, Casino Party

Kill La Kill

The story that ties it all together is forgettable, and if the intention of the writer was to create a semi-sympathetic antihero, it fails. The game objectives and hyper-violence will certainly draw comparisons to Hotline Miami, but Party Hard lacks the subtle stylish nuances. Also, the hero in Hotline was wiping out mobsters, not noisy people.

The pixel art is fantastic, with a wide variety of party people. The dance animations are often hilarious, as you’ve most likely seen the moves performed at a party you’ve been at yourself.

The soundtrack is rock solid, with each level playing its own unique track. That said, the one track is on loop the entire time while you’re on that level. They’re earworm-worthy, but often moreso because you hear them so often, rather than based on their catchiness.

The Hard Sell

Through Steam Workshop, there is an abundance of user generated levels. While the progress can often be plodding, dropping into a new level for a while can be a fun time waster. As twitch action games go, it will never be belle of the ball, but Party Hard is still more fun than staying at home, alone.

Party Hard is available via Steam

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Watch the trailer for Party Hard below

Adam Fimio

AKA Callabrantus [Toronto, Canada] has been an avid gamer since playing his first arcade game when he was two years old. Years later, he still dives into games on a daily basis hoping to recreate the high from that first hit.

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