There’s a couple of games I played and finished and never really talked about on the blog. I didn’t have much to say about them. My buffer’s also shrank to less than two weeks, so I figure it’s time to get less picky about subjects, so here’s a post on a couple of games which individually I had little to say about, but which collectively I might get four or five paragraphs out of, we’ll see.
Party Hard is one of the first games I played after assembling my huge list of games. It’s an indie pixel art game where you play as the Party Hard Killer, a serial killer who goes to big parties and kills every single person there. It’s a stealth-ish kind of game where you have to use a combination of booby traps and a knife in the back to kill unsuspecting party guests while avoiding being seen by anyone but your victim. If anyone survives to call the police, the cops will show up to arrest you. It’s possible to outrun them if you know the level layout well, and they will get bored and leave after a while, a surprisingly realistic depiction of the rigor with which the police have traditionally handled serial killer investigations, but trying to outrun the police is still risky. They’re faster than you, and shortcuts or obstacles which allow you to manipulate their AI into running around in circles until they give up aren’t totally reliable.
I like Party Hard for a similar reason to why I like Assassin’s Creed games: It’s a video game that sticks me in a cool location and gives me something to do there. The fact that the thing to do is murder everyone does mean that the location goes from popping to literally dead the more successful I am, and the pixel art isn’t nearly as immersive as AC’s AAA graphics, but no one else is making video games set in party locations, so Party Hard is what I’ve got and it’s not bad. There’s a house party and a frat party and a Halloween party and a beach party, a party on a pool atop a skyscraper and a party on a cruise ship, a biker barbeque and at the end a subway party being thrown by the kind of maniac-idolizing dipshits who think it’s a cool idea to throw a party and have everyone dress like the Party Hard Killer.
Carrion is a Metroidvania where you play as a shoggoth. You escape from containment in a lab, sneak through vents to kill humans and absorb their biomass, and steal back bits and pieces of yourself that the scientists hacked out for study in order to reabsorb your alien shoggoth powers. At the beginning you are a wolf-sized blob of tentacles and teeth that’s pretty reliant on the old “make noise in one direction, then pop out from the opposite direction” trick. At the end, you gain complete shapeshifting abilities and walk out into the city as John Carpenter’s Thing. It’s pretty good, but it desperately needs a map. The structure of the game is that there is one hub map and then many levels leaidng off from it, with each level being small enough that you can explore and semi-memorize the layout, and that works but doesn’t particularly add to the experience over just having a map. Worse, one level entrance is actually inside another level, not directly connected to the hub. These kinds of nested levels are usually no problem in a Metroidvania, but in mapless Carrion, it’s excruciating. Also, I feel like I’ve brought up Carrion’s lack of map before, but I can’t find it anywhere on the blog, so hopefully it was on Discord or something.
I sort of talked about Spellcaster University, and the only thing I really have to add besides what I talked about in that post is that I really wish someone would take the build-a-magic-academy concept and do it better. Like Party Hard, Spellcaster University is a game that I played to completion because a C is still a passing grade, and that’s good enough if you have no competition.