No rest for the wicked…
Game: Party Hard
Developer: Pinokl Games
Publisher: tinyBuild Games
Reviewed on: PlayStation 4 (Review code provided by publisher)
The neighbours are awake having a party; it is 3am in the morning. Sounds great huh? Well not for our masked hero (or antagonist) whichever is up to you to decide. Clearly Insomnia isn’t something he takes lightly so takes matters into his own bloody hands and goes on a killing spree to end the neighbours reign of fun. (How dare they!)
After a simple opening and smallest of tutorials to get used to the controls you arrive at the first house party; most of the party are huddled in the middle of the dance floor so smashed that they never move while you have the occasional other groups of people walking around; going to the toilet, going outside or just innocently sleeping through the whole thing altogether. The most basic method of killing people is stabbing them from being stood next to them. While this is most effective in Party Hard; the trick is that you can’t be seen which can be difficult as most of the time you can be seen through a window or someone else close by.
If after you murder someone and somebody notices you they run faster than you can sprint to ring the police; suddenly a cop car comes blazzing across the screen killing a dozen people outside of the house; that’s right the laws of humanity does not count; kill a party goer once and you are busted (if you get caught) but the police mowing down the street outside is perfectly fine. The police will chase you down but there are ways around this. The first time I had it happen I ran to the side of the house upwards as far as I could and to which the police man followed me but ran away quoting “I’m too old for this shit” as he almost got to me. I tried the same thing the next time it happened but he pursued me all the way and I got caught. The trick if you do get caught is to prepare yourself. You can hide amongst the crowds of people dancing and bust out some moves yourself and if you do it well enough the police will sometimes take somebody completely innocent. You must also dispose of the body as anybody who sees one will call the cops so throwing them in the Ice Machine or the Bin outside is a must.
I mentioned the knife but there are more lesser obvious hostile ways to take out the party goers. There are many interactions in each level and depending on the level some of them change; you can poison the party drinks; set wires near water to cause electrocutions or set rooms on fire. Unfortunately for me this is the games biggest draw; the slight creativity in killing people is oddly satisfying and in that way that you don’t feel guilty; after all the graphics are reminiscent of an Atari game; one in particular; I noticed how the killer unleashes his knife is very similar to Michael Myers from the Halloween game. The traps while real satisfying to use it is rare that some of them work in your favour and feel to simple anyway; fires spreading throughout the house due to an oil leak would add variety to the traps but instead fire just seems to stay in one room; traps just work how they are intended rather than how you would want them to.
The music in the game while initially catchy upbeat and seems promising it unfortunately does become repetitive later on as it’s too short and generally does get mundane and hard to listen on the first go; and for the most part you will be replaying later levels a lot; if of course you haven’t passed the first stage so will be hearing the same song over and over.
The problem with Party Hard is that it does not have that addictive gameplay or that feel that you want to try again if you fail first, second or the hundredth time. Most of the time is spent hiding waiting for the next potential victim and as you are nearing finishing up the last few people who are alive it gets increasingly difficult to not get caught and chances are you will mess up as you generally have spent so long on a level and when you do it is time to start over from the beginning.
Party Hard is not a bad game at all; it really can be a great time killer but for someone with not a lot of patience it can get stale very fast. I absolutely adore the graphics and some of the stages are pure fun even just to look at; the concept is definitely there but some things could be improved.