Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Party Hard Review (XONE)

When the neighbors are having a loud party next door most people either do nothing or call the cops, but the hero / villain of Party Hard takes matters into his own hands and just murders them all.  Then he moves on to another party and does it again.  And again.  And again.  And you know what?  It’s pretty darn hilarious and surprisingly fun despite the dark and morbid concept thanks to the fantastic pixel graphics and thumping soundtrack.  Party Hard is disturbingly awesome.  See all of the details in our full review.

Game Details

  • Publisher: Tinybuild Games
  • Developer: Pinokl Games
  • ESRB Rating: “M” for Mature
  • Genre: 2D Stealth
  • Pros: Funny; solid fun gameplay; looks great; amazing music; lots of levels
  • Cons: Repetitive; slowly paced; needs more traps
  • MSRP: $13

As mentioned above, Party Hard is a game abut a serial killer who got fed up with a noisy party next door and goes on a nationwide murder spree.  That’s it.  That’s the story.  That’s everything you need to know.  While the game is essentially a murder simulator, the graphics are made up of 2D sprites so it isn’t very realistic.  Everything is presented very tongue in cheek so it is hard to get too offended by it. 

The gameplay presents each party as a single screen full of people.  Parties can range anywhere from 40-70 people and it is your job to take them all out.  You have lots of options when it comes to killing party goers including making use of traps like exploding speakers or poisoning the punch bowl, but you can also throw people off of the roof, feed them to a shark, and much more depending on the level.  You can also always just stab them with your knife, too. 

The idea is that you kill everyone in a level without getting caught.  Obviously, if someone sees you commit a murder they’ll run and call the cops, so you have to be sneaky about how you do things.  Each level becomes a sort of puzzle where you use the traps, lure people around, and dispose of any bodies if you need to.  Sometimes levels will include interesting other components like a zombie invasion or something that changes things up a bit. 

All in all, there is a surprising amount of variety to the trap kills in Party Hard, but even then the vast majority of your time is spent standing around in dark corners waiting for people to come by so you can stab them and stash the body.  I wish there were more traps and more weapons and just plain more “stuff” in the game overall because it is a ton of fun until it starts getting repetitive. 

There are a bunch of levels in the game, plus more that unlock when you beat the story, as well as a handful of different characters to use.  Each character has different strengths and abilities, which gives the game a bit of extra replay value as you can tackle levels in different ways.  It only takes a few hours to beat all of the story missions (some of which are far more difficult than others, by the way), but with the extra levels and characters you’re getting a fairly decent amount of gameplay here for your $13.

The presentation is one of Party Hard’s strongest points as it looks pretty stunning despite everything being made of sprites.  Some of the party guests are all modeled after recognizable characters like Hulk Hogan or Super Mario, among many others, and it is always neat to see the pop culture references pop up.  The best part of the presentation is easily the music, though, as the thumping electronic tunes that play at each party are simply amazing and very catchy.

Party Hard is a game with a somewhat gross concept – playing a mass murderer and all – but darn if it isn’t a ton of fun.  It is fun and funny and surprisingly strategic and the fantastic sprite graphics and awesome soundtrack make it hard to put down.  Could it use more variety and stuff to do?  Absolutely.  But it keeps you hooked long enough to see everything and is well worth the $13 price tag.  Buy it.