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Hardway Party is a fast-paced action puzzle racing game by Polish indie developer Wastelands Interactive and releases on the Nintendo eShop this month. It is an expanded version of the hit free to start mobile title Hardway – Endless Road Builder.
From the main menu you are presented with three options, Classic, Local and Missions. For each, the aim of the game is simple you must obtain the highest score possible in a single run. The game mechanic revolves around creating enough additional track so that your vehicle of choice doesn’t fall off the end, leading to instant death. This is achieved by simply using a left or right directional heading to spin the next piece of the highway into position connecting islands together. This sounds pretty easy and it is but timing is absolutely key if you want to progress through the dozen or so unique worlds as you attempt to beat the game. You can control the game in a number of different ways, analogue sticks, D-Pad or the trigger buttons which soon became my preferred setting as it allowed you to easily backtrack if the road moved a little off course.
To add another layer of complexity into the equation obstacles including moving islands, lighthouses and monsters all do their very best to halt your progress. You will end up replaying the same sections hopelessly dying akin to Flappy Birds which let’s face it was a terrible game but we all spent far too long trying to get our score into double figures.
At the start of each journey, you also are given three objectives to complete which tend to be in the form of collecting a specific number of items, reaching a certain distance or besting the previous score. Objectives such as these seem to be a staple with this format so nothing here is groundbreaking but it adds to the need to replay the same scenarios over and over again to achieve the given targets. Think of the excellent Jetpack Joyride and you wouldn’t be too far off. Coins are collected which can be used to unlock over 50 additional vehicles.
Hardway Party offers a couple of different multiplayer experiences. Locally, you and up to 3 friends can battle it out for victory to become the last vehicle standing in versus mode. Or why not try survival mode and work as a team to jointly manage the roads. Hardway Party also includes online elements to show off your skills to the world, playing against friends and ranking up in the global leaderboards. With six different mission types – Pizza delivery, Firefighter, Police, Zombie, School Bus and Dragon – there is some variation even if the gameplay mechanic is consistent.
Hardway Party is just an ok game, very basic, potentially addictive and enjoyable for a couple of munites at a time but is something that you wouldn’t think twice about deleting. Graphics, soundtrack and controls are all functional. Disappointingly, given its roots in the mobile world, I found it a strange omission that the option to play using the Switches touchscreen in a portrait mode wasn’t considered. If you really must play this game try the free version on mobile first before paying the few pounds for the full game.
TBG Score: 3/10
Genre: Arcade, Racing, Party
Players: 1 – 4
Publisher: Wastelands Interactive
Format: Steam, Nintendo Switch
Download link: eShop