If you’re like me, you probably don’t go to a lot of parties, I would think its safe to assume that you also wouldn’t kill everyone there if you did go to them, but I guess thats where TinyBuild! drew the line. Party Hard is a indie action-puzzle game with a Hotline Miami style of play. You play as a rampant killer with the intent to do one thing and one thing only. Kill everyone at the party. Why? Because its 3 A.M and you’re trying to sleep because you have exams in the morning, and could you please turn down your awful music, Anderson please!
The story follows our killer who goes from party to party, massacring everyone who dares to get ‘turnt’ with a vengeful policeman pursuing his killing sprees. Apparently you killed his daughter on the first level, I dunno. There are cut-scenes between each level with conversations between an investigator and the policeman tying things together as things progress. Overall the voice acting is average, it certainly could use a bit of polishing, but for an experience that feels more measured by its fluidity and simplicity, I can forgive it.
With all that being said, the game play feels great. Controls are fluid and really easy to pick up, the levels are challenging and really test your abilities, most importantly, it all connects together in a sort of ‘snappy’ way. If you’re caught killing innocent drunk people, bystanders will usually call the cops or take matters into their own hands until the police eventually arrive. There are traps which help you with your killing spree and make for unique problem solving situations, probably my favorite instance of this was when there was a golf caddy facing towards the front of the house with plenty of my victims ready to be peeled off the concrete with a spatula at a moments notice, but not everyone outside was in its trajectory. So naturally I started a dance party outside! Everyone who wanted to dance came towards me with beautiful social competence while those who weren’t with it simply scooted back inside. I rushed over to the caddy and watched with glee as my prized golf caddy made a Picasso painting outside the front of the house with no witnesses to see. It was a glorious and all around satisfying experience. From that point forward, I poisoned drinks, broke an electrical box for a shocking ‘accident’, lit a bedroom on fire and fled the scene before the fire department even knew what happened.. I also may have left a few drunk people who had passed out in that room, but whatever.
Graphically, the game adopts a 2D pixelated style which really brings the Hotline Miami style to the table, but different in that the characters and world seem more akin to Atari games with low pixel counts and simple animations. That’s not to say that it looks bad, but rather more simple, and it’s quite clean overall. Sounds are quite good with very polished, ambient sounds, punchy effects and obnoxious music to really get your blood boiling. I actually have to hand it to whoever was in charge of sound, the music is simply awful, however it does its job well in inciting an agitation with how bad it sounds and it does so in an ironic way which I think really helps you in finding it in you to kill the DJ every damn time.
Overall, I’m quite satisfied with Party Hard. It didn’t complicate things by adding millions of tools and creating complex environments to navigate. Each level is fun and challenging and it feels good to tackle them in an optimal fashion. While I don’t see myself playing it for very long, the game has solid fundamentals with its simple gameplay and satisfying experience.
Review Score: 8/10
+ Clean, satisfying gameplay and style
+ Fun and engaging challenges
+ Great use of pixelated graphics
+ Enjoyable sound experience overall.
+ Intuitive experience
– Would like to have seen more diversity in the challenges and puzzles
– Voice acting felt a little off during cut scenes
– Sound effects lacking in some areas.