The first Party Hard was a top-down, 2D puzzler where the player must find out how best to murder all of the party goers at a party, and all without creating a panic at the disco. Now, the Party Hard 2 alpha (3) is out, and we can see all the changes and new features tinyBuild -and developer Pinokl Games- are thinking of putting into the main game when it comes out this Summer (Seriously, we live in a global world, can we please stop this?).
The first —and most glaring— change is now everything’s in 3D! Well, except for all the people in the level, which gives Party Hard 2 a very interesting and unique art style; high quality 3D environments contrasted with 2D pixelated characters. One interesting change that this has brought about is all of the props are now also 3D, and some of them exist in the world, such as when I managed to push a garbage bin around the top of the hospital map, something is currently classed as a mix of a bug/feature.
Speaking of maps, alpha 3 has three of them, contrasting with alpha 2’s two maps and alpha 1’s one map (I’m sensing some form of pattern here). Currently there is the bar, club and hospital level, all much larger and more complicated than any in Party Hard 1, each spanning 2 or 3 screens, with lots of separate areas to go and stab and murder in.
Except you won’t be murdering as much in Party Hard 2! As, splitting from the original, the goal is now not to kill everyone, but to kill specific people within the level! This change is really interesting, in that it really challenges you where the first one didn’t – in the specifics. While you can still just murder everyone in the level, one by one, you now get a scorecard at the end of the level with your kills, and I for one will be working to get my kills down to just the required dead.
These required sacrifices to the gods of the game are spread out through the level, normally most of them are milling about in the central areas, but depending on the story behind the level (for instance, in the hospital level there is a survivor from a previous level who will identify you on sight) some might be behind guards who are slightly harder to get to. One great feature of the first Party Hard was its ability to tell a story through set design and mechanics, and it’s great to see that this is returning in Party Hard 2.
So far, there are only a few new mechanics in Party Hard 2, those being the ultimate attack, and an inventory and variety of tools. The ultimate is a chargeable attack which kills anyone within its radius, and takes time to recharge once used. While useful to take out a few enemies in a quiet area, too often I do it only to be discovered by some drunk party goer who then go blabs on me to the fuzz, so this is an area where I still need to work out how best to use it.
Finally, you now have an inventory of 4 slots, the first of which is always taken up with your knife. Currently there is just beer to be picked up, but these items stay with you instead of being one-use such as in the first game, and more items and pickups will be coming in future updates. This expanded arsenal gives you many more strategies other than just straight up murder, and is an interesting idea that expands the game while keeping the core concept of murdering there.
Now, one really small mechanic in the first game was the dancing. Most people would have ignored it as a little joke, but for me not only was it a great way to get a crowd to split up through the use of your terrible dancing, it was an integral part of the game’s story, showcasing how bad the player character danced as an allegory for the distance and difference to the partying teenagers— all succinctly tied up in a few frames of animation. Shock be upon me then when I tried dancing in the Party Hard 2 alpha. I discovered that I now dance like John Travolta on Saturday Night Fever! In one swift cut Pinokl Games hav not only gotten rid of a great game mechanic, but also my main method of connecting with my character! Now I need to get dancing lessons to again feel in commune with my character.
Party Hard 2’s third alpha shows off the advances made so far, and makes me very excited for the full game’s release. Judging the alpha’s current quality, Party Hard 2 is going to be just as polished as the first game, and just as fun. Lots of new features have been teased and the ones demoed so far seem well built and implemented. Now, I’m going to go take a nap before it comes out, just don’t play any loud music when I’m sleeping and we’ll be good.