Party Hard is a stealth action based title released in August of 2015 developed by Pinokl Games and published by tinyBuild. You play the character of someone who just hates the loud noises of late night partying and you go on a murdering spree across America to put a stop to it.
The game is played in an almost isometric view as you control your character. You have the choice of a few different characters to play as on some levels, the most fun I found has to be the ninja character - who doesn't love a massive ninja blade?! Each of the characters have their own special equipment, as well as being able to pick up extra equipment that is scattered around all of the levels. The aim of the game is to kill everyone at the party without being caught by the authorities, whether it is the police or security guards. The way you kill people can be as creative as you like, some of the best ways I found would be causing dance floors to explode, pushing people off boats into shark pools and nudging people into air vents to get blended into a fine puree! If any of the other part goers see you kill someone, you either have to be very quick to escape the scene before they can call the cops, or well....take them out too. Either way you have to be very quick with your actions and this can lead to some very hectic chain killing scenarios as well. The game expects this to happen as it also rewards you for pulling off long chains of combo kills. After you kill someone, you of course need to deal with their body; so again think creative, dumping bodies in dumpsters, haystacks, sewer pipes, all become common ways of getting rid of the evidence but there are plenty of ways to hide them if you put your mind to it.
A lot of time you have to pick your moments when to strike very wisely, being patient certainly pays off here rather than going in gung-ho all of the time. If you stalk your prey and wait for them to separate from the crowd, you are going to get away with murders a lot easier than doing it in the middle of a crowded dance floor. Although, that being said, you are also rewarded with a higher score at the end of each level for completing it in as fast of a time as you can - catch 22! I personally went with the slow and steady approach.
Party Hard has a very pleasing graphical art style, the pixel graphics are represented very well here, and has a very much same look to it as some games such as Hotline Miami. Even though there aren’t massive amounts of detail in any of the character models, you still feel as if they are fleshed out and all feel alive and vibrant.
The plot in Party Hard is very much a detective style story, and although it has serious undertones, it isn't a massively complex story that should be taken very seriously at all. The story itself is mainly progressed through the cut scenes in between each level, and the voice acting is at times OK at best, one of the characters voices is really whiny and actually starts to grow very thin on your annoyance levels at times. Party Hard's soundtrack is awesome though - obviously since all of the gameplay takes place at a party, you are going to have party tracks, so upbeat high temp songs on every level keep the gameplay feeling even more fast pace than it should be.
This is a pretty difficult game - it takes a good session for you to be able to get to grips with how to actually kill off almost fifty or so people every level without being caught, and it does take a decent amount of skill and practice to be able to pull it off, with maybe a pinch of luck too. Be expected to fail a few times on each level as you work out the best ways to knock people off in the most effective way possible.
Each of the levels in Party Hard has an element that is procedurally generated, but the main gist of the map will remain the same throughout. All of the maps have a variety of different interactable objects that you can use in your murderess plans and it is highly encouraged that you do so as otherwise it will be really difficult to progress. A couple of the levels have shortcuts allowing you to easily traverse from one side of the map to the other, making quick get-aways even easier to pull off - don't use them too much though since they do actually get blocked off after a few uses to stop you taking advantage of them.
I have been playing Party Hard offline on a laptop for a few days now, and it has taken me almost four hours to complete the game's substantial amount of levels. I was perfectly happy with that time, and given that there is also an element of replay ability in that levels are randomly generated, and unlockable extra characters, then you really get your money’s worth out of this game. There are about 6 or so extra characters to unlock - so you can squeeze about 15 hours or so of gameplay out of this title if you so desired.
Party Hard is a technically sound game, I didn't have any issues at all whilst playing. The game is strongly recommended that you use a gamepad, simply because just works and feels better on a pad than keyboard. At the time of writing this review, I couldn't get used to using the Steam Controller with it though, so would recommend you stick with an Xbox pad for now.
To sum up, Party Hard is an excellent little title that I wasn't really expecting much from, but was pleasantly surprised. The game has a brilliant art style and amazing sound track. This is a game play element which I have not seen before so it was nice to see something original and done to a high standard. If you can ignore the voice acting sloppy voice acting in the cut scenes, then I wouldn't say there is that much wrong with this game. The regular price tag of £9,99 is priced for the amount of replay ability in this game too. Stealth genre fans will get a massive kick out of the game, and anyone wanting to play a game that is a little different to the Hotline Miami franchise, will certainly find a huge amount of enjoyment in Party Hard.