Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

[Review] Party Hard 2 – Nintendo Switch

Developed By: Pinokl Games
Published By: tinyBuild Games
Category: Action
Release Date: 09.08.2020
Composer: Ressa Schwartzwald 

When I was first introduced to Party Hard 2, I had no idea what awaited me. Having never played the first game, expectations were very low. Set 10 years after the first, in Party Hard 2 I celebrated a stealth killer soiree. To be frank, I laughed more than I should have. In a world where drug syndicates and aliens are a threat, I learned that the festivities were often fragile and the Police Officers exceptionally unprepared.

Beginning the game you are provided two options after selecting “Start Party”. You either start the main story, or you can play local co-op. I wasn’t able to check out local co-op, unfortunately, but having played the game I can see how co-op would be beneficial in many levels. There are four characters to select from; the first two, Party Hard Killer and Wannabe, are available immediately. The other two, Kao Tech (an alien sent to stop scum called “humans”) and Shawn O’Panda (basically a karate master in a “panda mask”), require you to unlock them through certain achievements or objectives in the game. Each character has different skills and weapons, which change how you play through each level.

Each level has their own objectives. These objectives can be completed by numerous options. Whether it be done with frag grenades, gas, or crafting items like Molotov grenades. You are able to kill multiple targets by pouring gas on the floor and igniting it with a lighter, or breaking electronics and causing explosions. This also may lead to party goers to be electrocuted. The environmental options to use were surprising. Players can hide dead bodies in trash cans and trunks, attach someone to balloons sending them into the sky, or start a car that “mows” down a massive group of bystanders. The downside, as expected, are the police. There is timer that counts and if you can avoid them long enough they will leave. They are easy to fool if you use the world properly, for example shortcuts like the sewer that sends you across the map. If arrested, it’s game over.

An interesting addition to the game are the random characters you encounter. From an NPC that randomly flies through the level on a magic carpet, to a bounty hunter that patrols the level, to a superhuman that teleports into the level (seen above) who serves to restrict and hinder your ability to complete stealth challenges. These inclusions add humorous interactions in the game. I found myself looking for these random encounters before spending the necessary time needed to complete objectives.

There are multiple ways to complete each level. The player can choose between multiple sets of objectives, which gives a little freedom in how each person strategizes. As objectives are completed you are awarded experience points to four traits of interest; Criminal, Anarchy, Stealth, and Mystic. Completing objectives adds points that eventually lead to rewards that are used in the game. The controls can be a bit stiff using joy-cons. I had a much easier time with some of the more covert objectives using my wireless controller. I preferred docked play rather than handheld, however, handheld gaming didn’t take away from my entertainment.

You can easily recognize the inspiration. The art style of the game is reminiscent of predecessors like Grand Theft Auto, and Hotline Miami. What I found compelling were how different each of the characters were within such simplistic art. The cutscenes between each level were made exceptionally well. The story could easily be told through a motion comic, which appealed to me. The art style helped drive my desire to see where the story was leading for the Party Hard Killer. The music was more or less repetitive. This isn’t a con, but definitely a weaker part of the game. There are levels where you can change the song that is playing, but that doesn’t really work in it’s favor.

With a plethora of action titles out there, Party Hard 2 tries hard to stand out. My two biggest complaints are the music repetition and the difficulty settings. They are set to medium and hard; that’s right, there is no “easy” option. The developers took the “Party Hard” seriously. There is genuinely a lot of fun to find here. From interesting character encounters through the brilliant ways to create pandemonium. If you are a fan of Hitman style strategy, Hotline Miami levels of massacre or merely enjoy creating mayhem, then I recommend this title. Not without flaws, I hope you give the game a chance, and may this serve as a reminder of the immortal words of Bill and Ted, “Party On”.

3.5/5

Buy Now: 19.99

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*The Switch Effect was graciously provided this game code for review.

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