Wireframe

Afterparty review - one for the road (to hell)

By Sean Martin. Posted

Sometimes adult life can seem a bit like hell – we work day in, day out at jobs which can feel pretty torturous, reflecting upon how our choices might’ve changed things, upon whether we lost something vital when we became adults.

For Afterparty’s protagonists and lifelong friends Milo and Lola, these uncertainties are very real. Having just graduated college, they stand on the brink of entering adult life, when they suddenly die and are sent to actual hell.

But as above, so below. After aeons of torment, the demons have grown tired of their nine to five, and now live for the weekend, partying alongside those they torture.

Even the Devil has grown disenfranchised, sequestering himself away in his mansion and holding grand parties every night. With the help of trusty cab driver Sam, Milo and Lola discover their only redemption is to beat the Devil in an ancient drinking contest, thus earning their freedom.

It’s a goal which takes them all over the underworld’s party district, ‘Nowhere’, and it’s hard not to admire Afterparty’s hellish neon nightlife, haunting choral bass, and the wonderfully voiced cast of damned souls and demonic entities.

The game consists primarily of dialogue, and though it can be occasionally cheesy, it hits the right beats for the most part. The ‘drinking’ component of the game manifests mainly in a selection of cocktails at every dive and pit stop on your bar-crawl to oblivion.

The array of cocktails on show is varied and fun.

Whether ‘Witty Vaudevillian’ or ‘Lovable Lush’, each drink provides a different effect, unlocking unique dialogue options, which, although affecting little, do provide hilarious results.

Afterparty isn’t really a game about drinking, but the idea does provide the beer pong and dance-off minigames which will keep you relatively entertained through the duration. It also lends the game a structure, a night of madness and escalation, allowing for the creation of one of the most playful representations of hell I’ve seen.

But just like drinking, beneath the veneer of fun and superficiality, deeper reflections are at work. Afterparty uses hell to parody and precipice the anxieties of adult life that Milo and Lola are paradoxically fighting to return to. It also explores a fear of losing ourselves, of becoming ‘lost souls’ consumed by regret, and in turn, those who are willing to remind us of who we are.

Because most of all, Afterparty is a game about friends – not those who leave you when the party ends, but those who stick around, and will, quite literally, go through hell for you.

Highlight

One character I’ll definitely remember from Afterparty is Sister Mary Wormhorn, personal demon. Her vivid design couldn’t help but remind me of the demon troupe in The Master and Margarita, and alongside stellar voice acting, you’ll love to hate her, as she tries her best to make your life miserable.

Verdict: 86%

Vibrant and playful, yet also profound, Afterparty gives the devil his due.

Genre: Adventure / Story / Drinking
Format: PC (tested) / Mac / Switch / PS4 / XBO
Developer: Night School Studio
Publisher: Night School Studio
Price: £15.99
Release: Out now

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