Party Hard Review

By Marc Hollinshead, 8 months ago
Who doesn't love a party? Busting your best moves on the dancefloor, sharing drinks with your friends, enjoying the chaotic atmosphere, getting killed by a knife wielding psycho... wait, what was that last one?

That pretty much sums up Party Hard, an oddity of a title that has you playing the role of a madman who travels to various parties to kill everyone who attends. Sounds weird, right? That might be so, but is the game worth playing or is it another title that is destined to fade into obscurity?

Logo

Party Hard plays out very simplistically. The game places you in a number of party scenarios, including boat parties, BBQ's, beach parties, and rooftop parties. Each of these levels is connected through a strange story where a man who just wanted some peace and quiet at night becomes the "party hard killer", travelling all over America in search of his next playground. Yes, it is as stupid as it sounds, but the story is actually fairly intriguing and has you wondering what the next still-framed cutscene will reveal next. The voice acting of the two characters in these "cutscenes" can be cringe-worthy at times, with the policeman constantly shouting profanities at the other character, who regularly provokes him. It's not A-grade material by any means, but it helps to add a continuity to each of the game's levels.

Unlike the ludicrous story, Party Hard has an extremely catchy soundtrack. As soon as you load up the game, you will be taken to the main menu and an addictive dance beat will loudly play over the top. This continues through all of the levels, treating you to unique party tracks to suit the vibe of each individual party. Contrary to what you potentially may have thought, this isn't a dark and brooding game. You will be slaughtering everyone in sight with light hearted party music playing in the background. This means that you shouldn't take the game seriously. Enjoy the soundtrack as it's one of the best parts of your time with the game.

If you want to stay on this screen and listen to the music, that's fine tooIf you want to stay on this screen and listen to the music, that's fine too

After you make it into one of the game's levels, you will quickly figure out the objective and how to go about it. After the quickest tutorial ever, you are swiftly thrown in the deep end and are asked to end the lives of 30-40 people without being caught or killed yourself. The initial character as whom you play the game possesses a small knife that kills anyone with one stab, but you unlock other characters with extra abilities along the way. However, this first "hero", as the game freakishly calls them, is with whom you will spend the majority of your time. The aim is to pick off each party-goer one by one without being caught in the act and you have a few ways in which to do this. Watching how the party plays out is a good way to start, killing those who stray away from the crowd so that you aren't spotted. Using traps is also a perfectly viable method of causing widespread blood on the dancefloor, and sometimes it's the safest. These range from poisoning food which will eventually kill anyone who eats it to sabotaging equipment with an inevitable explosion as a result. Utilising these traps can be both entertaining and amusing when watching what happens at a distance while you remain unnoticed. Be sure to dance as well, as this can drive away guests to get them ripe and ready for a merciless stabbing.

Just dance. It'll be okayJust dance. It'll be okay

Eventually, your stealth skills will likely let you down and either you or an unhidden body will be discovered. Any guest who spots this will quickly run and call the police, unless you can kill them before they make it to the phone. Once the police arrive, be sure to be as far away from the scene of the crime as possible, otherwise you'll get busted. If you are caught, though, this is where the game gets severely frustrating. It can be infuriating to spend 15 minutes being extremely careful in killing 30 people, only to then slip up on the last hurdle and get chased down. At this point you have to start the level from the very beginning and do everything all over again. It is possible to escape the police as they do eventually get bored running after you, but you'll need to have some quick reflexes or easily accessible shortcuts for this to work. The aim is to safely kill a victim or two and then swiftly run away and join in the dancing before anyone realises what you have done.

Kill people with your weapon or by using a number of traps, escape the police, repeat. That's all there is to it. The various environments and procedurally generated traps add a little diversity, but the game comes down to doing the same thing across all levels. It's rather simplistic in this sense and doesn't have all that much depth, so unless you are awful at stealth, you'll get through all levels and complete the game in a few hours when simply playing through each level once for the sake of the story. The other three unlockable characters may be worth trying out, but that only adds a sliver of replayability.

If you ever see that handcuff symbol, runIf you ever see that handcuff symbol, run

The achievements of Party Hard add up to 26 in total and vary in their degree of challenge. Simply starting the game will net you one, and finishing all levels will get you another. However you will need to be sneaky in your approach so that you can kill a large number of people without being noticed, and also bloody up that knife a heck of a lot and kill 1000 people. The strangest of them all, though, requires you to play the game a hundred times (yes, that's right). Reloading and immediately quitting the game will become a regular occurrence once you finish up everything else in the game before that. It looks challenging, but overall it is a fairly doable list.

Summary

Party Hard has one of the most peculiar concepts for a game and probably shouldn't even exist. Killing people at parties is not the ideal game premise to come to mind, but here it is. Despite the random story, the game can be entertaining. After using the creative traps and evading the police, it can feel rewarding to finally complete another level. Loading up the game for the soundtrack alone is worth it, and I won't deny that I quickly went online to find each of the tracks. Below the surface there isn't too much else to see with this title, so you will be done with it relatively quickly. Nonetheless, if going on a killing rampage while dancing the night away sounds like your kind of night out then it may be worth checking out.
3 / 5
Positives
  • Ridiculously catchy soundtrack
  • Using various traps is fun
Negatives
  • Very frustrating when caught by the police or accidentally killed
  • Fairly repetitive gameplay
Ethics Statement
The reviewer spent around 5 hours hitting the dancefloor, mingling with the locals and then slaughtering every single one of them. 15 of the game's achievements were gained throughout. A code for the game was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.
Marc Hollinshead
Written by Marc Hollinshead
To summarize Marc in two words, it would be "Christian Gamer." You will usually find him getting stuck into story heavy action-adventure games, RPG's and the odd quirky title when he isn't raving about Dark Souls and Mass Effect. Outside the world of gaming, Marc attends and helps out in his church on a regular basis and has a not-so thrilling job in a supermarket.