Over the past years, we've come to truly love pixelated games. They provide us with an unmatched sense of nostalgia and oftentimes, what they lack in visual presentation – they more than make up for in terms of story and gameplay.
Party Hard 2 is a similar case of sorts. One look at a trailer and the game will instantly attract you with appealing visuals and the retro synth-pumping music. But only when you begin to muck around in its open levels will you get absolutely hooked. How so? Let's break it down.
Party Hard 2 is available for purchase on Steam.
STORY AND GAMEPLAY
Party Hard 2 continues the story of the first game and puts you in the shoes of Darius – the infamous party killer. There are numerous tidbits that shape a slim narrative here but it's essentially, once again, you going to a bunch of parties and killing specific targets to finish the mission. There are two difficulty levels and two extra characters that you can unlock which greatly differ in their playstyle when compared to Darius due to their abilities.
No matter the character of your choice, the game is basically a pixelated top-down Hitman game on drugs. Throughout the 12 levels of increasing size and level of challenge, you'll be able to use the instinct vision to highlight all your targets and interactable objects. The number of these objects directly correlates to the number of options you have of killing your targets and what gives the game a great replay value.
Wanna be a simple knife killer? You can do that. Collect items needed to make a Molotov and set the dancefloor on fire? No problem. Spill some water and break a device to electrocute people? Of course. The amount of options is truly staggering and no matter how many times I replayed a level – I always discovered something new.
Although the game encourages you to be stealthy in the way you go about killing, it's not punishing if you don't. Sure, if there was an eyewitness of the murder or you tampering with the object of murder in plain sight – the police will be called and start to search the premises. While getting caught effectively means starting again, you can hide and wait until the heat blows over to resume your anti-party crusade.
There is one slight problem in the system that can cause frustration and that's inconsistency in the way NPC's detect you and for what. This does up the challenge but in a way that isn't fair. Just as you get in the groove of using certain objects and start to get a feel for NPC line of sight the game throws you a curveball. Things that worked 5 minutes ago, don't seem to anymore and the whole system goes out the window. Knowing this will slow down the way you play and you'll find yourself following a single NPC for 10 minutes straight in order to make sure there's not even a breeze around when you end his life.
Luckily, other mechanics alleviate this. Character abilities such as the multi-kill, in particular, help you get away with some quick kills – even through walls. There are even a few surprises and dynamic events in store that will stick with you even after you shut the game off. The cherry on top is the inclusion of local co-op that lets you muck around with a friend in the sandbox levels. This makes the whole affair a lot easier and of course, more fun.
VISUALS AND AUDIO
As mentioned in the introduction – Party Hard 2 features a pixelated art style. Now that isn't much in itself but the game expertly adds all sorts of interactable objects, light, and other effects to perfectly simulate the club environment it takes place in. Thus, the dancefloor is stifling, loud and bright while the bathrooms are damp, dark and depressing. You know the game did it right when you literally get the "I'm in a club feel" when playing a top-down pixelated game. The game is mostly bug-free and you'll be able to run it smoothly on any PC configuration.
One major problem that arises from the top-down perspective of the game is the fact that the player character, the NPC's and some items feature only a faint outline when behind an object or a wall which can lead to poor visibility. This can, in turn, mess up your game and force you to lose a dozen minutes of progress and start from scratch. Given the often wait-and-see, slow-paced nature of the game, this can become a source of frustration.
I also mentioned the music and I feel like it largely complements the visual style. It features a couple of outstanding retro-infused upbeat tracks that will not only make you feel like you're in the club but will also give you appropriate background music to all the shenanigans you'll be doing across the game. The music originating from the dancefloor is also a nice touch as it gets muffled once you go to a faraway room or when you are outside the club.
Party Hard 2 is like a neon infested Hitman lite. If the big one is too serious or too expensive for you, Party Hard is still a great way to go. Despite its problems, the game ticks all the right boxes in terms of level design, the number of interactable objects and pure stealth gameplay. The fact that it's all packaged in a pixelate retro visuals with some awesome music makes it all the better.
|+ Fun stealth gameplay||– Inconsistent NPC detection mechanic|
|+ Freedom of approach||– Visuals sometimes make for some poor visilibity|
|+ Awesome retro visuals and soundtrack||– Can get repetitive|
|+ Local co-op|