I’m sure we’ve all been there… It’s 3am, and you’re in bed, staring at the ceiling as the flat downstairs jumps and pounds with the sounds of a party. Regardless of how we feel, I like to think we would never resort to any kind of violence. The same cannot be said, however, for the protagonist of TinyBuild’s tactical “stab’em up”, Party Hard.
The main goal with Party Hard is to infiltrate a local party and kill everyone at there without being caught. Your default weapon of chaos is a simple knife, but scattered within each level are various objects which can net you more kill-points. Explosive speakers, the ability to set fires and being able to push party-goers over the edge of buildings. These can change with each play-through, providing a variety of different options for your killing needs. In each level there is also a special pick up which can help you gain further points, depending on your execution. You may get lucky and be able to pick up the bomb, or stun bomb, which can wipe out a fair number of people. One which I found the most useful, however, was the ability to change your clothing. This allowed you to easily evade the police, but as it was a one-time use item, you had to work out when to take your chances with it. Of course, no decent serial killer would leave their prey open to discovery, so littered around each level are various ways to dispose of the evidence, be it in a skip, down a man hole, or into a rooftop fan.
Party Hard appears to have a steep learning curve, however the base game is very simple. The difficulty comes from controlling your own patience, as well as developing strategies for each level. Sometimes you will be able to rush through, kill everyone, and be finished within three minutes, however more often than not, you will have to wait for the perfect opportunity to strike. Much like Hitman, Party Hard is all about taking calculated risks and learning from your mistakes.
There are a total of 12 levels to complete, but appear to follow the same pattern, just increasing in difficulty as you work your way through. Party Hard adds replayability in the guise of randomised levels, and the lure of beating your previous time and point total. Other than that, you have the standard achievement grind, but nothing much more to keep you coming back.
Party Hard is a nostalgic throw-back, visually, with its pixelated 2D style. You will often find references to geek-culture littered about in each level, with Darth Vader, Mario, and others making an appearance. The aesthetic is bright, bold, and rarely distracts from the task at hand. However, I did find that I lost myself a few times, because of how cluttered levels can get when first loading, especially when it is full of party goers. Using the left trigger will also bring up visual prompts, helping you scope out the available traps and hiding spots with ease. The soundtrack is equally bold and bouncy, with its electronic 8-bit style, fits the party atmosphere perfectly, and sits comfortably in the background without being distracting.
Party Hard is available now to download from the Xbox store for £10.39.