Preview | Afterparty
After the success of their last title Oxenfree, Night School Studio invited GotGame to experience their newest title, Afterparty. The story based adventure in the underworld is set to release at the end of this month. After our short playthrough, we feel there’s plenty to look forward too.
The story, without delving into too many details, follows the misadventures of two childhood friends: Milo and Lola. The two attend a party together, mingling with their classmates, until they find out they’ve been dead the entire time. Not knowing what caused their grim fate, the only way the two can return to the world of the living is by doing what very few souls have: out-party the prince of darkness himself.
Most of the gameplay of Afterparty revolves around walking around the 2D environments and conversing with a myriad of characters. More than often there would be an option to choose between two different dialogue options that can change a conversation’s direction. While this is nothing new to the genre of adventure games, the game has an additional mechanic that makes traditional dialogue trees more interesting: alcohol.
As the partygoers they are, Milo and Lilo can consume a variety of cocktails that affect them differently. Not only distorting the screen for visual flair, but adding a third dialogue option. Each drink that the two can order from the bartender has different intoxicating effects. These effects will either cause them to mellow out, or become aggressive. For example, there’s a moment where players need to enter a door blocked by a bouncer. By agitating an arguing patron, the bouncer would intervene, allowing the two to sneak by. The beauty is that every drink is unique and the variety of different options will ensure that each playthrough will be different. That being said, relying on the third dialogue option isn’t always the best option. There are many occasions in which the drunken kids would say something that’ll upset someone.
All of the focus on a narrative structure would fall apart if the writing was shoddy, but thankfully it’s anything but. Characters talk genuinely without the traditional trappings of high school writing. It never shies away from vulgar language to enforce its setting. The characterization itself is spot on, with Milo being more timid and doubtful whereas Lola is more assertive and snarky. The vocal performances are also terrific from both Khoi Dao and Janina Gavankar as Milo and Lola respectively. Special shoutout to Ashly Burch who absolutely nails the role of Sam, the sarcastic yet friendly taxi driver.
We don’t want to give away too many details of the plot. Either way, it looks like Afterparty is shaping up to be a humorous take on the depths of Hell. Its stylistic look of real-world locations combined with hellish color schemes sets it apart from other games, not to mention the terrific writing. The game will be released on October 29th for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.