Someone, somewhere, is playing their music too loudly. We’ve all been in that situation. The party is loud and bombastic, and guests don’t give a damn. Their arrogance twinned with the loud, pulsing noise that reverberates through your very home, a place which is meant to be your sanctuary. After hours of this disturbance, it occurs to you there is only one solution. Murdering them. Murdering them all.
That opening paragraph might seem like ol’ Mr Mason having a laugh at the subject of murdering one’s neighbour, though I have to admit that fantasising about killing my noisy neighbour completely to death is a thought I have genuinely experienced in my life. In fact, it’s amazing how quickly you’ll jump to this extreme conclusion when a stranger is affecting your mental health without thought. Now I am a (mostly) well balanced individual and have not done any killings as of yet, but at least with Party Hard 2, I can finally live out that fantasy.
Party Hard 2 is a pixel art-style murder spree. You make your way to a cr-aaz-y party, and begin the butchering. The levels are large without being too big. The developers have done a great job at creating a believable, yet obnoxiously boisterous, party, with dozens of tiny pixel characters dancing, smoking and other party malark. The art style is detailed and cute and the animation of these little characters as they boogie their little hearts away is so well done. The levels also are well laid out and designed, each looking like its own little diorama.
Despite the graphical design begin very stylised, Party Hard 2 manages to recreate what you could imagine a raucous party actually looking like, with a whole area being trashed while an awful DJ ‘lays down some fresh beats’. These so-called beats are actually pretty excellent, and it’s no wonder why the soundtrack for Party Hard was so popular. Despite the presentation of the game being great, I struggled to get on with Party Hard 2.
There are many reason why people play games. For me, I play to unwind, relax and most of all, for fun. So, as you can imagine, Dark Souls isn’t exactly at the top of my list for my stress-free time. I feel that Party Hard easily fits into the annoyingly stressful category. Each level tasks you with killing x amount of people, as well as other mission tasks and optional tasks.
The great thing about Party Hard 2 is that it allows you to tackle these levels exactly how you see fit, and for me that’s where it falls down slightly. I’m not in favour of a linear experience, but I feel that Party Hard 2 is a little too random for this approach. Targets move around the levels seemingly on a whim, which is a good thing because it allows each level to be completed on-the-fly, so to speak, but it also leads to an inconsistent difficulty.
For instance, you could spend an hour on a level and have a target not move away from crowded areas, making it hard to kill them. Other times, they might randomly wander into an empty room allowing you to take them out with ease. It’s this inconsistency that makes the game hard to enjoy. Sure, there are ways to move people around levels and it is possible to take out non-targets to ‘thin the herd’ and allow you to get them alone easily, but levels can flip from being impossible to way too easy just by chance.
To be honest, during my time with Party Hard 2, I felt that I was completing levels by luck alone. Sure, there are methods to herding people into certain areas, but it felt much more like I was just getting lucky and happened to catch my targets in the right place at the right time. This took many restarts of a level to do, and while guards do have dedicated patrol patterns that can be learned, targets just seem to amble around.
Killing targets is satisfying generally; there’s nothing like setting a trap perfectly then pushing a said target into a fan. Although, again, sometimes it was just random. I’d set up something to use later and a target would blindly stumble into it. You can of course stab your target and this is where line of sight comes in because if you are seen, someone will call the police and that’s an insta-arrest. Generally, the lines of sight are good, but there are some odd points. For instance, I stabbed a man with another man standing next to him who didn’t blink an eye, yet another time I stabbed someone and another person who shouldn’t be able to see him still managed to.
Party Hard 2 initially feels like it could be a bit of a puzzler, and while I do believe this is the intention to a degree, I find the random nature of the NPCs to be too unpredictable. Entering a level is like entering it for the first time for the most part. While guards, items and traps all remain in the same place, which does give you some advantage over the partygoers, the unpredictable nature of those NPCs made the game feel particularly frustrating. Team that up with one hit kill enemies later in the game and Party Hard 2 becomes a bit of a chore.
I’m going to be truthful: I did not like Party Hard 2. I felt it was an unenjoyable hassle to play through and I didn’t find it fun to play. That being said, I do appreciate that a lot of time and attention has gone into it, and while this game didn’t tickle me, it will likely tickle a large number of fans.
Party Hard 2 isn’t a bad game, but it’s not for everyone.Microtransactions: none