Sunday, April 07, 2019
Have I ever told you guys and gals how much I loved Oxenfree? Seriously, it was not only one of my favourite games of 2016, but possibly one of my all-time favourites. The mystery, the writing from a dialogue perspective, the choices, it was such a fantastic game, and had it not been marred with so many crash issues at launch I would have almost certainly scored it higher.
So when Afterparty was announced, but not confirmed for consoles, I was honestly a little miffed. How the follow-up to one of my favourite indie games of all time not be confirmed for consoles was beyond my comprehension! Thankfully, Night School eventually announced Afterparty for consoles and with that I was over the moon, and having played it recently, my initial excitement was justified.
First things first, Afterparty is effectively Oxenfree with a new cast of characters, a new plot and style, set in a completely fresh environment, that environment being the depths of hell. It's clearly using the same engine as Nightchools' previous game, as it has the same wonderfully fluent dialogue system, as well as all of the sass and attitude of Oxenfree and then some.
Afterparty throws you into the shoes of Milo and Lola, recently deceased, who find themselves in the afterlife, but unfortunately on the wrong side of it as they find themselves with the dregs of society in hell itself. The objective of the game is simple: escape hell and return to the land of the living, something that is only possible if you they can out party the Prince of Darkness itself.
While Oxenfree lived and died on its mystery and intrigue, Afterparty seems to be covering it's bases more somewhat. Oxenfree was all about the dialogue and the conversations that stemmed from its fluent mechanics, Afterparty seems to have more to it if the opening 20 minutes are anything to go by.
In the opening 20-minutes alone we were introduced to far more mechanics than Oxenfree ever had. For one, we played beer pong - or blood pong as it's known in Afterparty - to gain access to a VIP party upstairs where our guide, Sam, had gone and where we were denied access. Two, very early on you learn about one of the game's more interesting mechanics, in that what you drink affects how you respond and reply to people. We opted for a more confident oozing drink, for instance, that allowed us to tell someone else to basically fuck off (which is my kind of game!). Quite how this little mechanic will play out across the game remains to be seen, but our little experience with it was a truly positive one.
Granted, what we've played of Afterparty so far seems like a small slice of a much bigger whole, but our short time with the game was supremely enjoyable. What made Oxenfree a true success in my eyes was the fluent and truly seamless dialogue systems, and Afterparty is no different at all from that respect. You can interrupt, not reply at all, whatever, the choice is yours, and with the new alcohol fuelled conversational mechanics that change your mood and what not on the fly, the scope could potentially change dramatically. Plus, what game has ever given you the chance to play beer pong and be a sassy motherfucker? None, I tells thee.
Our only concern right now is that Afterparty won't have the mystery and intrigue that Oxenfree delivered in spades, but that's something that's hard to gauge from a relatively short hands-on. What we can focus on though right now is the writing, the dialogue and the attitude that exists, and on that note, Afterparty was everything we wanted and expected from a Night School game. Sure, we've only played a small section of Afterparty, but we've played enough to know that it currently sits quite high up on our most anticipated games of 2019.
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