Who knew that Hell could be so fun? Night School Studio takes our perception of Hell and completely flips the script. Sure, there’s torture, demons, and fire, but it’s also ironically a pretty lively place. Demons have days jobs; people drink, play games, go to clubs, and do things you wouldn’t expect in Hell. Afterparty makes hell feel unique and, ultimately, unforgettable.
Players take control of Milo and Lola, two best friends who discover that they’re dead. They don’t know how it’s happened or why they ended up in hell. Fortunately for them, there is a way to escape the underworld and make it back to Earth. Our protagonists just have to beat Satan in a drinking contest. Sounds simple enough, right?
Descend into a vibrant hell
Milo and Lola’s seven-hour journey sends them to seedy dive bars, energetic nightclubs, and some horrific scenarios. Getting to Satan is easy enough, but he sends our players on a quest to prove they are worthy to take on the Prince of Darkness by getting seals of approval from various monarchs. Each demon gives you the option to tackle your objective in different ways. These branching choices invites you to play Afterparty multiple times, and it’s honestly worth repeated playthroughs. Sister Mary Wormhorn, your personal demon, consistently points out the decisions Milo and Lola make and how they could’ve done something differently. Each time I finished an objective, criticism by Wormhorn typically made me wish I had chosen another route.
Since this is a game about outdrinking Satan, it goes without saying that there’s a lot of alcohol consumption in Afterparty. Unfortunately, what should be an essential mechanic feels underutilized. Every drink gives Milo and Lola different attitude traits when conversing. The issue is that they don’t seem to make much difference in the narrative. The dialogue options you get while sober often seem like the better way to play. Being drunk never felt like a necessity, although the game encourages drinking various cocktails.
A well-cast comedy with heart
Besides this issue, the dialogue is sharp, hysterical, and offensive. I found myself laughing to the point where my side was literally in pain. Those looking for a horror-filled adventure like Oxenfree will be disappointed. Afterparty is the polar opposite but has the Night School charm fans fell in love with. What resonated with me the most is how relatable Lola and Milo are. I like to think I’m a good person, but oftentimes, I wonder if that’s the case. Our protagonists grapple with the reality of their situation and question why they ended up in Hell. Dramatic moments that broke the comedic flow of the narrative kept me on my toes. One moment I was laughing uncontrollably, and the next, I was genuinely surprised at how the story switched gears.
The voice acting is superb, with Janina Gavankar, Khol Dao, Ashly Burch, Paul Bates, and Dave Fennoy expertly bringing their characters to life. The sound design is also a high point, with EDM blasting through the clubs, making Hell feel like a place you want to genuinely party at. Visually, Night School Studio’s version of Hell is vibrant, eye-popping, and aesthetically pleasing.
Afterparty could’ve been a masterful game, but the random slowdown took me out of the experience. These moments usually happened during scene transitions or when driving in Sam’s taxi. The slowdown wasn’t frequent, but it was enough to start becoming a hindrance.
Afterparty: A journey to the underworld worth taking
Night School Studio blew me away with their debut title, Oxenfree. Naturally, I was excited about Afterparty from the moment it was announced. Fortunately, the end result is a worthy follow-up that will make Night School Studio a team to keep your eyes on. They have proven that they can tackle multiple genres, provide excellent narratives, and memorable experiences. While Oxenfree unsettled me, Afterparty brought me hours of joy. Afterparty is a story about death, friendship, the struggles of life, and acceptance, all wrapped in a backdrop of demons, debauchery, and, surprisingly, heart. Milo and Lola are fantastic protagonists, and if there were anybody out there you should travel to hell with, these two would be the perfect companions. Grab your Switch, pour a drink, and definitely pick up Afterparty.
A review code was provided by the publisher.