You better start building your alcohol tolerance now if you want a chance to escape Hell in Afterparty, a new game by Oxenfree developers.
Yes, Night School Studio has announced a new game, which I’m low-key excited about. It looks like a good time, even if it involves demons and alcohol poisoning.
This time we won’t be exploring a small island and tearing holes in time and space; we’ll be drowning our sorrows. We’re are dead and in Hell after all.
By “we” I mean Lola and Milo – two college grads and best friends who find themselves in a neon-drenched version of Hell, filled with bars, clubs and karaoke.
While this version of Hell doesn’t seem all that bad (apart maybe from the karaoke part), Lola and Milo understandably prefer to go back the land of the living. Lucky for them, they find a way to do just that. The catch? The only way out of Hell is to drink Satan under the table.
While playing, you will alternate between the two characters at “strategic and emotionally resonant points” to open up exclusive dialogue choices and storylines. I’m not sure if it will be up to you to choose which character to play when, or if it’s decided by the story.
“I think it’s fair to say that if any of us turns up in Hell, our first priority will be to GTFO and get sloshed with our best friend. We want to give players real agency in accomplishing those goals,” said Sean Krankel, co-founder and studio director of Night School Studio.
“Players can chat up demons and the deceased using a new dialogue system, challenge them to Satanic bar games, and drink from a huge menu of infernal cocktails, all with game-changing abilities.”
Drinking and playing bar games seems to be part of the core gameplay in Afterparty. Different drinks can unlock specialized dialogue options and abilities, and interacting with demons at the bar will lead to new storylines. Completing these “quests” has the potential to affect Milo and Lola’s journey, and also the people and places of Hell.
Speaking of places, Afterparty appears to be bigger and more open than Oxenfree was. The underworld is made up of several islands connected by the River Styx. It’s still not clear if we’ll be able to travel between the islands freely, or if progression is more linear than that.
Whichever ends up being the case, the road to Satan’s bar does have a few stops along the way. Milo and Lola can’t just step up to the big guy himself and challenge him to a drinking contest. They first have to impress Satan’s Monarchs with their drinking abilities and other bar activities like beer pong, dance-offs, karaoke and chugging competitions.
In my Oxenfree review, I gave the game a score of 7.5, praising its story and dialog system but wishing for more engaging gameplay.
Night School Studios seems to address my concerns with Afterparty. It looks like there’s a lot more to do this time around, and the premise is even more interesting. Also, the conversation system is back and will play a major part in how the game unfolds (and ends).
“We wanted to merge a heavily player-driven narrative with outlandish comedy that feels surprising and spontaneous,” said Adam Hines, co-founder and lead writer. “So the player not only defines their adventure but directly creates the outrageous situations that make any great ‘crazy night out’ story worth telling.”
Afterparty will be released in 2019. No specific platforms were announced so far, but right now I’m guessing it will definitely come to PC, PS, Xbox One and Switch; just like Oxenfree did.