What’s in the box?! It’s Party of Sin!

Long awaited in the local gaming community, hellishly entertaining game Party of Sin is finally available. Our gaming critic takes a spin.

Image courtesy of Crankshaft Games

Crankshaft GamesParty of Sin might be a familiar name to anyone who followed my old gaming column in the Mirror (or if you picked up a copy of November’s print issue of Cult and read Emanuela Bonaffini’s preview), so I’d be remiss if I didn’t inform you that the finished product finally hit online download service Steam last week.

Although some aspects have changed over the years, the basic premise remains the same: the seven deadly sins — portrayed in physical, cartoonish form — must escape the depths of Hell and fight their way into Heaven, battling an army of angels who stand in their way. I recently had the opportunity to hang with project lead Daniel Menard at his single-desk work space in Lachine, where I completed the game’s first world (Hell, obviously) and also tried out the game’s bread-and-butter: the co-op mode.

It’s important to note that Menard calls the game a “puzzle-platformer,” because although there are instances where the player will be hacking away at angel minions (as well as larger, scarier boss creatures), the main focus of Party of Sin is on those dastardly brain teasers. Each of the sins has their own special ability: Gluttony, for instance, can eat and spit out blocks; Greed has a grapple hook. In order to pass each elaborate puzzle, players must quickly alternate between the seven sins, using their abilities correctly. Even the trials in the early going were tough, and quick timing is a must.

Menard also cites New Super Mario Bros. Wii as an influence, which becomes all the more evident while playing co-op. As with Mario Wii, players are expected to work together, but that doesn’t always end up being the case, and because the protagonists are sins, they’re openly encouraged to act naughty on occasion. Supposed teammates can leech life from each other (by using Envy), and grabbing gleaming bonus apples is a competitive ulterior goal throughout.

At the end of each stage, players receive individual awards for their exploits, so it’s worth it to take the lead and inflict more damage than your partners. Having buddies around makes puzzle-solving easier, but the bosses, which in the case of Hell consisted of a narwhal and a giant spider, remain merciless (note: multiplayer can only be played locally on the same PC).

Based on my time in Hell (the game, not Lachine), Party of Sin has the makings of a solid debut for Crankshaft Games. It’s a difficult side-scroller with oversized bosses, a distinct art style (especially the anthropomorphic sins), unpredictable co-op and genuinely tricky puzzles. ■


Party of Sin is available now on Steam.

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