Party Hard on PC
Onamonapia has its ways of conveying more than any novel could through concision. One noise can inform an entire story. No word deals this level of detail so well than “Snap.” We get more than a sound; we get the telling word of broken resistance. Instance after instance, the gradual build of fragility destabilizes what hold was had. Until one innocuous notch, the tying bond gives away. By hand, by rope, or by action, the word “Snap” details far more than its audible origins.
One snap can lead to violent reactions, and it’s precisely the story of Party Hard. Sleepless nights of nonstop parties haunt one man into regaining the night by blade. Driven to madness, the man grabs a knife and pursues self-deluded vengeance. Murder on his mind, the man terrorizes parties across the country. We begin Party Hard by party of two. Inspector John West details the Party Hard killings of Autumn 2000 from start to finish to a gleeful and antagonistic interviewer.
The connective tissue of Party Hard’s story mirrors that of a Kleenex; it’s more of an excuse to facilitate new venues. A detective retells the murderer’s cross-country path and his own path trailing the killer. Captures, escapes, and deaths of family members ensue as the killer travels from theme party to theme party slaughtering all. It’s not a particularly interesting story, and less-than-stellar voice work backs the game.
Right off the bat, voice acting misses more than it hits. The sound of the interviewer’s shrill voice annoys more than it menaces or intrigues, and the detective’s forced, bitter tone doesn’t aid the already amateurish acting; it’s vacant, ponderous philosophical posturing saddling with an overly gruff tone in an attempt to appear “Deep.” The nihilistic Rust Cohle of True Detective fame would even demand Detective West to lighten up.
The True Detective reference works once more as Party Hard’s story often hints the detective pays a big contribution to the violence in a reflective interview setting. The story twist in Party Hard stands as one of the highlights, yet the real intention of Party Hard is solving murder puzzles. At the core of Party Hard, it’s a darkly humorous puzzle game full of nonsense. You stab, maim, gas, electrocute, crush, shove, explode, and beat partiers to death.
Every living, dancing thing (not all humans) must be eliminated without your arrest or death. Traps spread throughout stages and generally offer stage-specific actions for the party, like hungry sharks near a party boat. To lessen attendants finding your handy work, there are garbage containers, ice machines, manholes, and open ledges to grant ample opportunity to rid of bodies.
There will be climbable windows, passageways, and ladders to evade party goer exposure and police custody. Reliance on these escape hatches (zooming you across the map) as the police chase you conjures up a Mario-like figure to bolt up your recently used escape hatch rendering it unusable; although, officers of the law aren’t the only threat.
Buff, black-shirt-wearing bouncers also ruin your murder spree. While a police officer arrives after a phone call from a party attendant to arrest or to bag bodies, these bouncers stand as the larger threat always dormant at the party. Typically, both the officer and the bouncers have a finite amount of willpower to chasing you.
As sadistic and immoral the core premise is, Party Hard plays for laughs. Cheap chuckles from death and absurdities angle as the real charm of Party Hard. Attendees ignore the body bags left and right; police cars run over bystanders; EMT workers savagely kick the dead as a means to carry them; bears with Kayne West shutter shades get boogie with their bad selves.
Another shining beacon of positivity for Party Hard is its use of playing as the irredeemable villain. You must enact the killer’s bloody revenge for story purposes in a low-res, outlandish setting meant for dark humor. You are driven by the plot, not by blind, whiny rage targeted at society as your motivation. The plot (interview with Detective West) needs a dramatization of the Party Hard killings, and you are here to propel the story.
Party Hard does present a fine concept, but it’s victim to redundancies and design oversights. Traps, the most entertaining part of Party Hard by far, don’t demonstrate enough variety. Feeding people to sharks and pandas doesn’t get tiring, yet igniting the same set of speakers, poisoning the same keg, and exploding the same gumball machine across 12 levels does bore. Stage-specific traps play a part of the joy of Party Hard: ending attendants’ lives in cartoonish ways; however, given the nature of some levels, special traps work as the only way to progress in a level.
Killing someone at a party of 40+ will have one person find you and demand for your arrest. When you have an easy, two-in-one trap like pushing a party attendant off the boat, it’s the go-to herd thinner; explosions and poison can only go so far. Playing conservatively, you will camp out at these spots for a while. On top of this all, levels vary in challenge.
One level felt ideal for an introduction to various usable items, though it sat as an utterly easy go at a bunch of party goers in a bus in the middle of Party Hard. The Beach stage presents a very open area where a quick stab follows with some young person calling the cops on you. To beat the level, a local animal attraction needs a steady diet of millennials to assist you. It’s limiting and boring as the rest of the levels feature some space to hide and move.
That’s all considering the visuals and environments won’t obstruct your play, which it most certainly will. You will get caught in the environment. Multiple times it’s a guessing game of what you can and cannot cross over. Knowing escaping from authority (Bouncers, Police) plays a larger role later on, tight spaces, such as the College Party level, the too-tiny-to-see-around-people pixels you can’t walk pass provide a bountiful amount of frustration.
A slow and steady approach to murdering the 50+ people proves to be a lengthy exercise with high potential of instant failure. Depth also contributes to the misfortune. The isometric, pixelated view of Party Hard obscures varying heights leading to confusion over if attendants can see you or not. In addition, determining the line of sight for party people, and if they can see over a barrier or not, also sours the experience.
Party Hard falls flat in execution and bores in some cases. It’s a dour middle ground between a playground for murder and a puzzle: too restrictive in weapon / trap choice and infuriating to enjoy completely, and too simple and redundant to boggle the mind. Party Hard is difficult to recommend. It has some challenge to it, but the unintended flaws shove themselves front and center. The combination creates a messy, inconsistent slog, but there’s a Kanye West shutter shades-wearing dancing bear you can call and party with.