We've all been there. The noise of the modern world, the constant blaring of music, the parties that never cease, and all when we're three sleepless hours away from long shift at a terrible job. Well, Party Hard 2 takes this scenario and continues it to its logical conclusion: murdering everyone.
This is a strange game. There's no way around it. You play as the Party Killer, a masked man (a la Michael Myers) who goes around stabbing people with a knife. But it doesn't end there. This game, for all the focus on homicidal free-for-alls, is a really a thinking person's game. Yeah, I know, try to stay with me.
The game plays from a top down perspective with very basic, retro graphics. It's pretty reminiscent of Hotline Miami as far as aesthetics go, but the focus is on planning. You're dropped into increasingly unlikely scenarios and given options to either kill specific targets and accomplish specific goals... or just murder every living thing on the map. Your call. But either way, you can't just go in guns a'blazing. First, because you have a knife, and second, because failing in this game is easy. Murder someone in plain sight? Cops will be on your tail. Don't dispose of the body and someone finds it. Cops are on your tail. Set off an explosion that takes out half the room while you're on the opposite end of the map and there's no conceivable way anyone could pin the crime on you? Cops. Are. On. Your. Tail.
You have to scope out the place, which can be a little frustrating when the map changes ever so slightly on each attempt. Items like gas cans or bottles of booze might not be where they were in the last attempt, but over all, you can still get a feel. Where are the guards? Where are the shortcuts? Where are the environmental kills? Where you can stash bodies? You have to think about everything before you start acting. There are no check points or second chances. If you're one target away from completing your goal, twenty minutes into the round, and you screw up and the cops catch you, it's back to the start.
But don't go thinking this game about murdering people in furry suits and BDSM nuns is all serious business. There are lots of weird things going on here, too. My favorite might have to be the randomly appearing Terminator. Yes. That one. Every once in while you might spot a big wave of crackling energy forming into a sphere on your map and boom! Naked Arnold Schwarzenegger appears with sunglasses and a desire to ruin your day.
So it's weird, it's tricky, it's a little random, but is it fun? That really depends on your level of tolerance for getting so close to winning and then having it snatched by one dumb choice. Which is to say, yes, it's fun. If you like a little challenge in your puzzles, if you like putting together a plan, crafting weapons out of things lying around like a homicidal MacGyver, and of course, playing games with a dedicated dance button, well, this just might be the murder simulator for you.
Final Score: 7 out of 10
A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of review.