Party Hard is a arcade style, low-poly game about murdering your loud neighbors. Yeah, video games are weird. Party Hard was actually released in 2015, but we were able to take a look at the game’s newest ‘Party Harder’ update courtesy of publisher tinyBuild. ‘Party Harder’ brings a new DLC update along with brand new Twitch integration and gameplay tweaks, but before going into that, let’s look at what Party Hard actually offers in the main package.
In Party Hard, players step into the role of the Party Hard Killer who, motivated by a lack of sleep, journeys from late night party to the next and executes every party-goer he can. Players will need to clear each party completely while avoiding being caught by curious attendees, the police, and more. While you follow the Killer’s path of joy-killing, he is pursued by a hard-boiled detective desperate to bring him to justice. The story is actually told from the perspective of the detective as it becomes clear that the Killer might not be as one note as it seems.
As for the new content update, the big focus is on the ‘High Crimes’ DLC, which features a brand new story and four levels that are set a decade after the events of the core game. As far as I was able to play to, it wasn’t necessary to know the ins and outs of the previous story. True to its name, however, Party Hard is pretty hard. While the game cannot be accused of not explaining itself and its controls, I often found myself lost in how to complete the levels presented. A part of this has to be attributed to the fact that while the Killer blends in with the crowd, the UI doesn’t make any kind of indicator of where the player actually is in the crowd. More times than I want to admit, needing to watch one side of the party caused me to lose track of myself and ended up arrested, eaten by guard dogs, or ran over by incoming cars that pass by.
Other issues come up as nothing is set to any dedicated pattern that can be learned in ‘High Crimes.’ In the DLC levels, the Killer has set targets as opposed to needing to clear the party, but the target is left behind certain barriers that must be cleared, and it isn’t always clear how to actually do so. For example, the first level has the Killer hunting a drug dealer, but the dealer is guarded by two guard dogs that do not move. I spent two hours on this single level, and was only able to pass by luring out the drug dealer by accidentally guiding a poisoned party-goer into his room to die. I also almost didn’t notice, as I was trying to avoid all the guy’s dogs. After doing some looking at other players, that might be the way to actually pass the level, but I still don’t know. After that, I still haven’t been able to clear the second level, even if its objectives are more clear than the previous. This is again due to the need to watch more moving parts than should be necessary. Despite this, I do see the appeal of Party Hard. It carries an aesthetic tone similar to that of Hotline Miami, even if it plays at the difficulty of The Binding of Isaac. Despite my many, many failures, I felt the need to keep hammering away; a need fed by Party Hard’s soundtrack that itself was redone with ‘Party Harder’ as to avoid YouTube’s Content ID system.
The other big part of ‘Party Harder’ is brand new integration with the Twitch streaming platform. For something that sounds daunting to use, it was pretty easy to configure to my Twitch stream, along with enable and disable as needed. When active, a bot created by the developers will run, allowing the audience to earn points that will give the ability to impact the game from Twitch chat. The audience can then influence the game by bribing the police, manipulating NPCs, trying to kill the Killer, and even jumping into the game from chat as well by taking control of one of the victims and issuing chat commands to them. To do all of these and more, one’s viewers need to earn points from watching and interacting with the stream. Points carry over to anyone streaming Party Hard as well, which serves as pretty near reward to fans of the game. That said, the rate of earning is hard to tell. Players can vote in polls that start at the beginning of a level for a solid 5 points, but it’s not exactly clear what is even voted on. Plus, those polls can spam the chat if you die or lose as consistently as I was. Below is an example of what I mean:
That is a lot of chat spam.
These updates, along with the aforementioned fixes and local multiplayer (which I didn’t get to try) will surely breath life into the slightly over a year old game. Even if it wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, I have a feeling I might just be returning to Party Hard again. After all, I still haven’t managed to get passed that second level.
Party Hard is available on Steam, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Fire OS, iOS and Android.