In 2016, the indie studio The Night School released its first brainchild: the mystical Oxenfree , where a group of teenagers escaped from ghosts and got out of temporary anomalies. The game not only collected a bunch of laudatory critical reviews, but also paid off well, so the output of the next project remained only a matter of time.

Afterparty became it – one more adventure, only this time about bosom friends who thundered into the netherworld. And she is quite capable of giving five to seven hours of excellent leisure time … Unless you were waiting for the second Oxenfree.

It happens that you drink yourself with a friend at the graduation party – and suddenly demons come out of nowhere. This could be the beginning of a horror or shooter, but we have a different genre here, so we can’t shoot from the evil creatures from the shotgun. Instead, the demons announce that you and a friend are dead, and it’s been seventeen minutes since you were in Hell. And ahead – only eternal torment for your sins: cauldrons, torture, etc. on the list.

What does it mean “we are not sinners, so we do not deserve it”? Of course you deserve it! And if you want to know why you and a friend still thundered here, look for a reception on the street. There they will tell you the reasons, and pronounce the verdict, and send them to serve their sentences where they should. True, due to bureaucratic delays, you will have to wait until the morning: the working day has just ended, and decent demons, you know, do not want to work outside hours.

Afterparty review. If your party is not like this …

Do not agree to hellish torment? Well, there’s another option: to overwhelm Satan. Lucifer has the coolest parties in the whole underworld – old Svetozarny knows a lot about fun. This is a long-standing, respected tradition. Win – return to your boring earthly life. He just doesn’t drink with anyone, so first get the advice of his closest associates. In the end, you were still going to celebrate graduation, and drinking in the other world is clearly stronger than in a provincial college. Yes, and drinking companions from demons are more pleasant than silly classmates: it’s interesting to talk with them even for life.

Afterparty loves breaking the fourth wall, but not just for the sake of humor. The inhabitants of Hell unobtrusively, but neatly speak out on the topic of God, free will and the great game that the Creator leads … and you, dear user

Afterparty loves breaking the fourth wall, but not just for the sake of humor. The inhabitants of Hell unobtrusively, but neatly speak out on the topic of God, free will and the great game that the Creator leads … and you, dear user

If in Oxenfree we wandered around a deserted island, here the developers send the heroes – quiet Milo and the “lighter” Lola – to the bright neon Hell. It has enough references to Dante, and to Milton, and to the kingdom of Hades from Greek myths … But, probably, Pratchett could have written such a netherworld if he had been born in the twenty-first century.

Hangers politely talk with the heroes, swinging in a loop. Singing monks in the pads are asked to give a receiver that they can not reach. In one of the bars behind the glass, famous musicians languish – just as purely as decorating the interior – and you can chat with them about the vicissitudes of fate or the flip side of fame. The smiling guy who treated you to a cocktail can easily turn out to be a serial killer. At the bar, demons complain to each other about the hardships of their personal lives, and at leisure, everyone scribbles notes on the local demonic Twitter.

The hell from the Afterparty universe is so aesthetic that it looks like a fashionable resort. He lives his own strange absurd life, not so different from the earthly one, and this is his charm: charismatic characters almost make me believe that “demons are also people.” For them, torturing sinners is not a pleasure, but a tedious job, after which you want to relax and drink something stronger. Natives of Hell also suffer from broken hearts, difficult family relationships and identity crises … But you should not forget that they are still demons. Yes, they themselves will willingly recall that they are not always worth judging by human standards. Despite the sometimes amazing kindness and altruism, they always put their interests higher. As, however, and most people.

Each club has its own atmosphere, colors and interior features. And of course, music: the composer scntfc, who wrote the terrific soundtrack for Oxenfree, is back in business, and his peppy dance tracks come out no worse than the ambient

Almost all of the gameplay is built on ramified dialogs. Milo and Lola communicate with the demons, discuss the difficult situation they are in, argue, make difficult moral choices – and again communicate with the demons. The cycle is repeated until the final, sometimes interrupted by funny mini-games. In dance fights we will be offered to repeat movements behind the opponent and memorize the key sequence. In birpong you will have to practice accuracy and deftly hit the ball into empty glasses. And in order to cross demons, you need to quickly build a pyramid of drained glasses.

The variability of the dialogues is huge. There are always two basic answers, but additional ones can be found with the help of booze: hellish cocktails make Milo and Lola cocky wise guys, arrogant assholes or reckless daredevils – it depends on the drink. If you take a sip from a glass during a conversation, unique remarks or actions will open, without which other tasks simply cannot be completed. Only “under the fly” timid Milo can shag from the balcony to get past the bouncer in the club’s VIP section, and the prickly Lola can push an inspired love talk and get an important tip. And no propaganda of alcoholism: the children will be reminded more than once that drinking is just a way to escape from problems that will not go anywhere for a short while. Although from the lips of demons such instructive speeches sound especially ironic.

Hellish cocktails also have gorgeous names: “Mass extinction”, “Black death”, “Nameless grave”, “Great exhibitionist” … My personal favorite is Margarita Volanda: gin “Powder barrel”, aged in the carcass of alpine chamois

Hellish cocktails also have gorgeous names: “Mass extinction”, “Black death”, “Nameless grave”, “Great exhibitionist” … My personal favorite is Margarita Volanda: gin “Powder barrel”, aged in the carcass of alpine chamois

At the same time, acting out does not cancel the characters’ own characters. Milo and Lola are life-beaten, injured outsiders with their dreams, cockroaches in their heads and weaknesses. These or other answers can make them more truthful, caustic, sarcastic or sympathetic, but they still remain themselves. Afterparty, like Oxenfree, is first and foremost the story of young people who have had a hard time living without any devilry. This is a story of growing up and clashing face to face with your inner demons. And a fantastic adventure is just an excuse for the heroes to clean up their own heads. Only here all this is served in a deliberately ironic manner, and even seasoned with black humor – so do not wait for a heart-rending drama.

From time to time, Milo and Lola get drags from a personal demon – one for two. He will helpfully summarize completed assignments, ruthlessly ridiculing every decision made. In general, people who are familiar with impostor syndrome, after meeting Afterparty, can easily visualize it

From time to time, Milo and Lola get drags from a personal demon – one for two. He will helpfully summarize completed assignments, ruthlessly ridiculing every decision made. In general, people who are familiar with impostor syndrome , after meeting with Afterparty, can easily visualize it

As usual, there were some minuses. Of the minor technical flaws – optimization (sometimes the picture hung even on a powerful gaming PC) and jamming dialogs. Twice, Milo and Lola started a conversation that I had already seen and heard. Considering that usually heroes do not repeat themselves, this was very striking.

But it is much more disappointing that the imaginary importance of short-term elections does not particularly affect anything. In Oxenfree, both the ending and the relationship between the characters were formed from the actions of the heroes – and you felt these consequences at least before the final credits. Here is another story: some plot twists depend on the decisions made, but in the process of the game you expect more than you get in the end.

And sometimes the camera is annoying. Here it’s the same 2.5D as in Oxenfree, but since the bars are full of demons, sometimes they block the view. When you are conducting a dialogue with a character that cannot be taken with you to an “open area,” you have to look at the whole black conversation in the foreground

And sometimes the camera is annoying. Here it’s the same 2.5D as in Oxenfree, but since the bars are full of demons, sometimes they block the view. When you are conducting a dialogue with a character that cannot be taken with you to an “open area,” you have to look at the whole black conversation in the foreground

For example, when I decided to do justice and go against a powerful demoness (instead of helping her), I expected some consequences: punishment, a bad ending, additional quests with which the heroes have to get out of the ass where I drove … It turned out in vain. The demoness sighed heavily, but still gave what I needed. That you help her, that you resist – one outcome. You couldn’t bite your nails in painful thoughts: to go the easy way, but against conscience, or do the right thing, making life difficult for yourself. The plot will still roll along the beaten path to reach one of the two finals, where it all depends solely on whether you will sing to Satan or not.

When you understand this, you don’t really want to replay Afterparty, despite all the variability in other aspects. But in the end, where is there a bit of fraud in the kingdom of the Prince of Lies?

Afterparty review. If your party is not like this …

On the one hand, Afterparty seems to be a worthy continuation of the ideas of its predecessor: the corporate identity of the studio is easily recognized. On the other hand, the developers at Night School decided not to repeat themselves, and those Oxenfree fans who loved the game for a mysterious otherworldly horror might be disappointed not to find it in the adventures of Milo and Lola.

As for the rest, Afterparty is a touching story of friendship in bright scenery, as well as the most extraordinary and friendly Hell that we have seen. Add one to the other – and get the perfect Halloween game. Unless, of course, in Halloween you want to not be afraid, but have fun, dancing with evil spirits at the disco and listening to the drunken revelations of the suffering Satan.

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