Review: Afterparty

About this Game

Afterparty

Publisher

Night School Studio

Developer

Night School Studio

Release Date

29 Oct, 2019

Console

PlayStation 4

Time to Plat

12h

Platinum Difficulty

Very Easy

Online Trophies?

No

Difficulty Trophies?

No

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You can get toilet paper online, so…

I’m sure we’ve all, at some point in our lives, pondered the existence of an afterlife. Whether Heaven and Hell exists, if we’ve been benevolent enough to land ourselves at the pearly gates, or committed one too many sins to earn a one-way ticket to the fiery pits of Lucifer’s stomping grounds. However, I’m willing to bet that only a handful of us have thought about what we’d do if we were to wake up surrounded by torture hungry demons. Could we endure it? How might we escape? Is it even possible to escape?

Afterparty is a game about that very idea. Milo and Lola are two University students—or I guess “College” students because they’re American—who happen to find themselves as Hell’s two most recent neophytes. Luckily, the duo hear of a rumour; outdrink the Prince of Darkness himself and he’ll grant you your souls and a second chance at life (or as I like to call it; a typical Friday night in the UK).

Afterparty Review

What the Hell’s Going on Here?

A lot of video games have featured drinking as a gameplay mechanic. GTA IV gave you the option of responding to one of the many text messages from Niko’s friends to go “drinking”. Watch Dogs had a drinking mini-game which also came with an aggravating trophy for beating people at these drinking games. You can also down some brewskis—and then urinate it out—in the poorly received Duke Nukem Forever for PS3. The list goes on, however, very few games actually utilise drinking in any meaningful way beyond a few laughs or “drink this to get x amount of health”.

Things are a little different in Afterparty. Drinking is pretty much the whole game. Hell is basically one giant nightclub scene where demons flit from one pub or club to another until “Hellrise” where upon they return to the daily grind—quite literally for some demons. Milo and Lola get to join them as one of their sins is “showing up too late to be processed”.

However, Afterparty has quite admirably taken the novelty of virtual intemperance and “rehabilitated” it into a core mechanic. Each drink Milo and Lola chugs bestows them with a personality trait which can colour their dialogue options. From simple Liquid Courage, to Witty Vaudevillian, all the way to Prison Bully.

If you’ve played Night School Studios’ other game, Oxenfree, you’ll know what I’m talking about. In that game, the only way you can interact with characters is through dialogue. You walk around while NPCs talk to you and every so often you get to choose a response. This mechanic makes a return in Afterparty. However, one of the standard three responses is locked until you take a swig of your chosen poison.

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During a conversation, Milo and Lola can respond with generally two dialogue choices—mapped to blank and blank—however, swilling a “bevvie” will reveal a third option—mapped to blank

This is a pretty cool addition to the dialogue system, however, I’m not sure if you can ever “fail” a conversation so mostly these extra dialogue flavours exist purely for fun. There is a section right before you deal with Asmodeus, where you need to be drunk to interact with a railing to continue the story, but other than that one time, I don’t remember needing to be careful about my drink choice. Still, it was really fun choosing a drink and seeing how it changed Milo and Lola. My favourite dialogue flavour was Witty Vaudevillian followed by Sports Fan.

Why Drink?

Milo and Lola are childhood friends who find themselves in Hell and, of course, they feel like they don’t belong there. Luckily for them, they can’t be processed because the working day just ended and every demon in Hell has an appointment with the bottom of a bottle so for the next 12 hours our duo are free to roam. They did however get assigned their personal demon, Wormhorn. Not long after this, Milo and Lola bump into Sam—a “psychopomp” voiced by the talented Ashly Burch—who tells them of a rumour involving Satan and a drinking contest.

Arriving at Lucifers party palace, Milo and Lola—who I shall refer to has Mola or Lilo throughout—find a really, really long line of demons and tortured human souls waiting to get into the party. This is Mola’s first challenge. Fortunately, just like our living world, Hell has a social media app called Bicker—which is basically Twitter—on which Lilo finds two people with an extra ticket, but they both need a little help first.

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Bicker is filled with funny “tweets”

Depending on who you choose, you will meet some very well written and hilarious characters. On my first playthrough, I choose to help the demon security guard find a sneaky soul who’s visited Hell without dying first. 

You will eventually meet Lucifer and he will send you on a quest to beat Asmodeus and Apollyon in a drinking contest to gain their favour before you get to take on the big guy. This is where Night School Studio’s excellent character writing rears its head.

For example, Asmodeus comes off as a typical party guy. He’s got a string of lights and a white cloth draped around his body and seems to be in a really good mood. However, it’s soon revealed that he’s actually quite upset since his wife recently left him. That’s right, demons are people too. Mola can choose to ignore his feelings and just challenge him to a dance off, or they can be good people and try to reconcile the two jilted demon lovers.

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This is around where Wormhorn starts to shine too.

Afterparty is filled with well written and interesting characters with their own personal motivations and it’s an absolute blast drinking your way through them and either ignoring them, taunting them, or helping them deal with their… well, personal demons.

My Afterparty Platinum Journey

Afterparty is a very easy game and only really requires 2 playthroughs.

On your first playthrough, you’ll earn trophies for some decisions you make, such as helping a demon security guard finding a soul who has entered Hell “illegally”, or beating Asmodeus in a dance contest.

I did take a quick peek at the trophy list before I started my first playthrough and I saw some mix trophies for playing a perfect game of Beer Pong, Stacking Shots, and a Dance-Off. I also spotted trophies for trying 20 different drinks, choosing 20 curse words and drinking a total of 40 drinks.

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I have a talent for stacking shot glasses, apparently

My first playthrough was pretty smooth. Every time I entered a new pub/club, I made sure to drink 1 of each type of drink they served so I could bag the 20 different drinks trophy since I’m not entirely sure if the progress carries over to other playthroughs. I also tried to pick curse words at every opportunity, however, I may have missed some since the trophy didn’t pop by the end. I was also lucky enough to get the three perfect game trophies and even a trophy I didn’t know about for getting stuck with a drunken idiot demon for the final battle.

About two thirds of the way through the game, you’ll get stuck playing as either Milo or Lola for a few minutes depending on whose plans you went along with for the majority of the game. I also unlocked half of the unmissable story trophies—the other half are also “unmissable”, but you can’t get them all as they’re tied to decisions.

On to my second playthrough, I made sure to take stock of what trophies I’m missing. Luckily, all I needed to do was side with Lola for the whole game, choose the alternative decisions throughout the story and drink 40 drinks, curse 20 times, and see the other 2 endings.

I wasn’t sure if my progress carried over so I made sure to spend about 5-10 minutes in each club just downing all the drinks. I also chose a curse word at every opportunity. About half way through, both of these trophies popped and I could carry on unhampered by misc trophies. Finally, for the 2 ending trophies, I made sure to save right before the final battle with Lucifer so I could see one, reload my save, and see the other.

And that was that. I had successfully binged my way through all of Hell’s pubs and outdrank every demon that crossed my path. I earned that Platinum Trophy. If only it was a cup shape so it can use it to hold my alcoholic bevvies! 

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Shame I had to lose for this last ending 🙁

Time Breakdown

First Story Playthrough

Seconds Story Playthrough

Misc Trophies

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Verdict

Plat

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Afterparty is a really cool take on Hell and it's occupants which will have you in stitches as you drink your way through the grimy, neon lit streets of Hell in an attempt to out drink the Prince of Darkness himself. Fans of Oxenfree and narrative driven games will definitely find plenty to enjoy in this game.

Pros

  • Really cool Indie graphics
  • Fun and deep characters
  • Drinking mechanic is a lot of fun

Cons

  • Could be longer
  • A puzzle or two would have been great
  • Frames dropped here and there
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Gold Trophy

Afterparty is definitely one of the best Indie games I've played in recent memory.

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About the Author

MrZhangetsu has a real talent for FPS and skill-based games. His impeccable timing makes him a good match for more difficult trophies. However, his tendency to get tunnel-vision and zero-tolerance attitude can bring him down where TheDblTap might succeed.

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