By Phil Schipper / August 11th, 2015
|Release Date||August 25, 2015|
You can ask the police to break up big, loud 3 a.m. parties as many times as you want — people will eventually keep coming back. But if you kill everyone, they might think twice. Such is the logic of Party Hard.
The party venue usually has several potential traps. My personal favorites are food sources, which you can poison, and a gas can that you can use to light a whole room on fire. You can set speakers or ovens to blow up, bookcases to fall, and power boxes to electrocute those that get too close. There are also a couple of strange ones, such as a bear trap laying outside. In addition, once per level you can use a phone to summon a random helper. You might get an exterminator to gas a large area, a bodyguard, or even a hitman that will go around making your job faster.
Still, even if you master and maximize the use of these things, you’ll probably only get rid of about half the people at the party. In the build I played, the level had about 50 targets, so a lot of the game is about watching for individuals to go into bathrooms, side rooms or outside alone, then quickly stabbing them. If even one person sees you, it’s very hard to get them before they inform the police, so it’s important to get out of the room with the bodies and start dancing to get rid of any suspicion.
The bodies will be found anyway — you can hide them, but, ultimately, there will be too many — and the police might show up and leave a dozen times before the level is over. The funny thing is, unless there are witnesses for your arrest, a cop will simply go to all the bodies that have been found, bag them, and then leave them there before leaving. However, if he sees you anywhere near the bodies, he’ll assume you did it and come after you. You can’t stab an officer, so, unless you have a well-laid trap ready, it’s a Game Over at that point.
Besides the phone I mentioned earlier, there are a few small elements of randomness to the party. The exact number and favorite locations of the partygoers varies, as do the locations of traps. Occasionally, you might see agents that watch over a particular area, or even a SWAT team. Though the latter sounds bad, if you stay out of their way, they tend to do more damage to the targets than to you. Still, although one or two rooms might be a little different, the house, for the most part, will have the same layout, and everything tends to even out somewhat.
Party Hard is obviously a game that would rather be fun than realistic. Nobody ever thinks to lock down the area and search people for bloody weapons, and, once the cops have dealt with any bodies, the partiers that found them will go back to doing their thing. Nobody ever thinks, “Gee, there have been about 20 stab victims, three explosions, and somebody got electrocuted. Maybe we should get out of here.” I wouldn’t want everybody to go rushing out of the scene right away, because that would make it kind of boring, but the tail end of a level can drag on since you have to kill every last person there.
Overall, it appears that Pinokl Games has designed a set of features that’s very fun in a sandbox setting, then tried to impose a sort of level progression system on it. However, given how early this build is, it would be wrong for me to pass judgment on it. After all, they might just find the missing link and turn it into a brilliant game.
If you want to try it out, there’s an older version playable on the TinyBuild site. It’s vastly inferior to the one I played, though, so keep that in mind.
Preview build supplied by the publisher.