During E3 2019, I had the privilege of playing the demo for the upcoming indie-game, Afterparty. The game is being developed by Night School Studio, which was the studio behind the well-received Oxenfree in 2016. While Oxenfree was a fun and interesting experience, Afterparty seems to be shaping into an improved game.
During the demo, you play as Milo and Lola, two unfortunate souls who have wound up dead and in Hell. Although the cause of their deaths or reasons for their damnation have yet to be divulged, the two wish to escape Hell, as it is a pretty gruesome place to be. Despite what you may expect, the Hell you see in the demo is a bright, neon cityscape full of interesting characters both human and demon alike. The developers are able to perfectly convey the feeling of pulsing life as well as manic despair with the vibrant environments.
The first real location you visit in Afterparty is a bar called the Schoolyard Strangler, where Sam (a demonic friend of Milo and Lola) promises to meet with Forneus, a “middle manager” in Hell with information on how the duo may escape. One of the first features that appears is the Twitter-like feed that will pop up in reaction to things you experience in the world. For example, witnessing an intoxicated demon barf on the side of the street will cause his nearby friends to mockingly tweet about what a wreck he is. It paints a picture of a world teeming with activity and fun, no matter where you are.
As the three characters enter the Schoolyard Strangler, Milo and Lola are separated from Sam as she and Forneus go upstairs into the private party of Thomas Tulaney. The two must befriend or impress Thomas enough in order to gain access to his sweet “deathday” party. To do that, they need to order some drinks.
Possibly the highlight of the Afterparty demo is the drinking mechanics. As this is a game about out partying Satan himself in order to escape Hell, it makes sense that the most interesting part is the drinking. At the bar in the Schoolyard Strangler, you are able to purchase one of four drinks: a Bloody Stool, The Great Emathian, Famous Last Words, or Pears of Anguish. Once a drink is ordered, you are able to drink it as slowly or quickly as you like, although there is a finite amount of alcohol per glass.
When you are sober, you have two or three dialogue options when given the chance to respond in a conversation. However, when you are drunk on a particular drink, an additional dialogue option is made available. This alternate response will depend on the drink you order, as each has a different effect on Milo or Lola. The Bloody Stool makes you flirtatious and awkwardly aroused, The Great Emathian causes you to be more excitable and confident, Famous Last Words makes you belligerent and cocky, and Pears of Anguish will make Milo or Lola friendly and gregarious.
The more you drink, the more a meter above Milo or Lola’s head will fill, signifying how intoxicated they are. The meter is constantly depleting over time, so if you want those extra dialogue options to stick around, you have to be constantly drinking until your glass has been depleted. However, being drunk will also affect in-game mechanics, such as making the trajectory line for “beer” pong distorted and difficult to aim. There are plenty of other drinks that will be made available in Afterparty’s full release that were absent from the demo. After all, there are a lot of locations in Hell that Milo and Lola will be able to explore!
Once you gain access to the upstairs party, Sam will explain to Milo and Lola the basic premise of the game: in order to earn their freedom from Hell, they must outdrink the Devil himself. Turns out the Prince of Lies hosts awesome ragers every night, and offers ascension to those who can match him in partying spirit. Thus, your journey to become the greatest partiers Hell has ever seen begins, as the demo ends.
Afterparty promises to be a fantastic gaming experience as you explore the parties of Hell with the hopes of defeating Satan at his own partying game. With its bright location, interesting character designs, and fun dialogue, it is sure to be a unique experience. The game will be released sometime in 2019, with no official date set.
For more information regarding Afterparty, be sure to keep your eye on Mammoth Gamers.