Party Hard 2 Review: Killer Clubbing

Party Hard 2 is available on Steam, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch. Joseph Pugh conducted this review on a standard Xbox One.

Overview

Party Hard 2 is a top-down stealth strategy game where you play as a serial killer going ham at various party’s. You complete a number of objectives by planning out a wide range of demented actions.

As you progress through each club, you must avoid being arrested by the cops, killed by guards, and take care not to be caught in your own shenanigans. You can fall prey to various traps and hazards you use to slaughter the guests.

Different actions grant you experience toward separate playstyles, such as Stealth, Criminal, and Anarchy. Hitting certain thresholds unlocks new goodies including playable characters. The game features difficulty settings, and local co-op so a friend can be the Jason Voorhees to your Michael Myers

Party until you drop

Party Hard 2 is a game of dark humor. The pixelized graphics look great and make the violence easier to stomach, but the objective of the game is to do some pretty horrendous things in very clever ways.

Really though, the graphic style is a mixture of great looking pixelized characters combined with a more modernized environment and it works great. The game is all about crashing parties which means music, and Party Hard 2 features a bunch of really great hopping tracks while you do the Jack the Ripper.

Each level in Party Hard hands you several visible objectives and a bunch of hidden ones. Most levels can be completed multiple ways, and it’s up to you how you go about doing it.

Party Hard 2 features four playable characters.

The levels themselves are mostly static but have some random elements. The placement of objects can change, as well as any items you find in crates. The behavior of most party goers is also random. Guards tend to have preset movement paths, but the guests are unpredictable.

Each level is filled with a variety of hazards and interact-able elements you can use to accomplish your mission, or simply kill everyone. That is usually one of the allowed ways to win.

You always have your trusty knife, and stabbing people is an option. Just remember to hide the body. The party-goers are mostly oblivious to your actions, they are too busy dancing and drinking. But they will call the cops if they find a body. Worse, if they do notice you doing something nefarious, they can identify you to the police.

This encourages some careful planning. Break a vending machine so it electrocutes people. Shove someone into a fire as you walk by, or start a car and send it careening through a crowd.

Each level is really unique, these people party hard and not just at clubs. Hospitals, parks, and factories are all on the table. Every stage presents a wide array of new opportunities and secrets.

The levels are varied and distinct.

Aside from a couple of strange boss fights, the core concept never changes. But each level is a brand new multipiece puzzle to work with and they are all fun. To unlock everything, you will need to replay the levels with new approaches.

Murdering everyone, and linking kill combos raises your Anarchy. Doing illegal things aside from you know…murdering, raises your Criminal rating. Being super sneaky raises your Stealth and doing…weird stuff, like calling a circus bear, or raising a zombie will increase your Mystic rating.

Leveling up these playstyles unlocks new items you can find in crates as well as new playable characters. There are four in total, but one is more or less an easy mode character with buffed statistics that is separated from the game’s standard difficulty settings.

The remaining three are distinct, playing an alien that can turn invisible and shoot a plasma gun is wildly different from playing as the Party Hard Killer. Especially since everyone calls the police on the alien character as soon as they it..

The hybrid artstyle looks great

Aside from environmental traps, you can pick up a bunch of items and even combine a few into new ones. You can fill a container with water, gas, or acid and pour it around for interesting effects. Hand someone a condom and you can lead them somewhere away from prying eyes for a bit of stabbing, the non-sexy kind.

The whole system comes together to form a really clever and open-ended system. It feels great when you pull off a successful complex plan, but doing so requires time, patience, and a careful eye.

Reptitive Bedlam

While the open-ended nature of Party Hard 2 is entertaining, it can be inconsistent and downright frustrating at times. If you are arrested or killed, you start the level over, which is fine, if it always felt fair.

Sometimes a party goer is oblivious, other times they would identify me immediately. Sometimes a guard wouldn’t notice me and other times they would. Once you are being chased by a cop or guard, it’s probably over for you. They hone in on you quickly, with the police telepathically knowing your location most of the time. They are faster than you and if they touch you, it is done.

Sometimes you can get lucky and hide, or lead them into a trap, but it is rare. It can get frustrating because despite the open-ended nature, you will discover that some plans for any given level are clearly optimal, but they do take time to set up.

A little water, a little electricity, a lot of pain.

For example, there is a factory level full of guards that know you on sight. I found that I could sneak into a room near the start of the level and call a stripper. She would then temporarily pull every guard in the stage to that room.

I filled a container with water and poured a trail of it from a nearby electrical water dispenser into the room, but it took several slow agonizing trips to refill the container to cover the area I needed. Then I needed to call the stripper and wait. I’d run up, break the water dispenser I had linked the trail of water to, and electrocute them all. Bam, an entire levels worth of one-hit kill guards are now dead.

What a great plan! But then, if I made a tiny mistake later, or worse the game got inconsistent and the cops got me, I’m back at the start again. That plan of attack is clearly the most effective for the stage, otherwise I have to contend with the super guards the entire time. So I’d be back to spending an upwards of ten minutes prepping the same trap again.

I’m not a big fan of dark humor, but I giggled.

Then I’d die….and I’d have to do it again. In fact, a lot of levels have an optimal sequence of events despite the randomness thrown in, and a lot of times, it was simple chaos. Blowing up as much as possible and stabbing everyone that didn’t get blown up. Once you find those paths, the spirit of Party Hard 2 dies a bit and if you eat dirt, you’re back to repeating the same steps. Not doing so would be purposely making the game harder for yourself.

Verdict

Party Hard 2 is a clever and open-ended stealth puzzle game. Sure there are optimal paths to victory, but you have to discover them yourself for it to become a problem.

Each level is distinct, and the three playable characters all change the way you approach the game. There are a lot of hazards and traps you can lay if your patient enough, and it’s satisfying to pull off.

The alien has more aggressive options at the cost of not blending in at all.

The game’s inconsistent nature dampens the fun at times, both with the AI, and near-invincible guards and cops. Sometimes utter chaos is optimal, and other times it’s the same set of carefully laid plans that you have to repeat if you mess up. Sometimes a target you need stays in a crowded dance floor forever. Other times they wander into an empty room to pass out within a minute.

Despite that, if you’re a patient fan of puzzles and stealth, Party Hard 2 is an enjoyable experience with well-designed levels for you to master.

A game key for Party Hard 2 was provided fro Gideon’s Gaming by Tinybuild for the purpose of review.

You might also want to check out my review of a similar game called Streets of Rogue. If you enjoy this content, check out my kofi page. Every coffee bought go’s a long way toward helping me, and the site.

Pros

  • The neat hybrid art style and hopping music tracks
  • Interesting and fun planning and stealth gameplay
  • Clever and varied levels full of new traps to use
  • Four playable characters, 3 of which are distinct
  • Difficulty settings present

Cons

  • Optimal routes in each stage dampen the spirit of the game
  • Inconsistent AI is frustrating
  • Deaths and failures can feel incredibly unfair
  • Super cops and guards make you feel helpless if you get spotted
  • Failures can make the game repetitive with its static yet inconsistent nature.