When Party Hard first appears on your screen blasting it's 16-bit style sprites and chip-tune music at your face and ears, it's hard not to peg it as Hotline Miami's mescaline addled twin. It's pure pixel death, but at a much slower pace.
Developed by Pinoki Games at a game jam, it attracted the wandering eye of TinyBuild who stumped up the money to make a full fat version for PC and consoles, and I for one am pretty glad they did.
Taking the role of 'Guy Who Hasn't Had Enough Sleep', your objective is simple: Murder everyone at a dozen parties. There is a storyline between the stages, involving a hard-boiled cop and his quest to stop you. It's tongue is so far through its cheek it could lick its own ear. But hey, who needs narrative fluff, this is all about the murdering.
After a short and rather abrupt tutorial you are chucked in at the deep end, a full party of fifty people need offing, and you only have knife. Fortunately(!) there are other ways to kill, poisoning food, rigging cupboards to fall on folk, blowing up speakers in crowds full of oblivious dancers, even calling in aliens to abduct a few guests (yes really). All of these won't be available at the same time however, as each level has different random elements each time you play, a great way to eke out a little more bang for your buck.
You're going to die in Party Hard. You'll also be arrested. A lot. Eventually though you'll learn to play at a slower pace, pulling the trigger to listen reveals the traps and shortcuts, the former can keep cops off your back, while the latter can be used for a quick getaway, though you can't use these too many times as Mario will jump out of the toilet and seal them up (again, yes really).
My time with Party Hard was a genuinely fun one, it has that that mystical 'just one more go' pull about it, and, showing my age, it reminded me of How to be a Complete Bastard on the Commodore 64, thus filling up my nostalgia glands with happy Caramac scented memories. It won't take you an age to finish, but there are unlockable characters and a handful of extra scenarios. Party Hard is an eminently replayable way to waste half an hour and is nailed on as my favourite Jason Vorhees simulator so far.