Halloween is dope. It’s a sign that you’re truly in the thick of the fall, the most superior season. And when it comes to spooky thrills, the world of video games has plenty to offer. The typical recommendations are of the survival-horror ilk — Five Nights at Freddy’s, Resident Evil Village, or Silent Hill. But Halloween isn’t all about nightmares and jump scares.
Afterparty from Night School Studios delivers a pumpkin pail’s worth of humor, demons, and legitimately moving insights about the nature of death. This 2019 indie has an unforgettable premise. It follows two best friends, Milo and Lola, who find themselves sent to Hell — unaware of how they died or what they did to earn a spot there in the first place. The only way they can escape is by outdrinking Satan himself. You’ll explore Hell, meet eccentric characters — both human and demon alike — and, of course, get drunk!
Most of the gameplay revolves around starting conversations, but your drink choices matter as much as the dialogue. Each tipple offers unique conversational options, making for an even wider net of outcomes and relationships possible. You’ll also find yourself doing other things — like scrolling through Bicker, the social media app for residents of hell, dance battles, and beer pong.
It’s the personality of Afterparty that makes it worthwhile. If you’re like me (have good taste) then you may be a fan of The Good Place. This game is that show’s estranged, moody cousin. They both ask plenty of questions about the afterlife and the ethics of it all, with plenty of sardonic wit.
Afterparty is an oddly pleasant ride through the underbelly of society. But more importantly, it’s about the joys of social interaction. Given what’s happened in our own world over the last year, revisiting Afterparty is downright cathartic. Right now, meeting new people at a Halloween party practically feels the same as running into sinister ghouls, right?
The delights of Afterparty come with some irritations. It has some notable frame rate issues on my old-as-hell PS4, repetitive exploration can get a bit tedious, and the ending is a bit anticlimactic. Even so, the entire thing is a blast when you approach it the right way. It only takes a weekend to finish, so sitting down with a pal could make the experience all the more fun.
Afterparty feels like a Tim Burton flick crossed with the Perks of Being a Wallflower and a sliver of American Pie. It's irreverent, occasionally memeworthy sense of humor — “Smash Mouth should’ve called themselves Mouth Smash” — will keep you engaged throughout.
Afterparty is available to purchase for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC.