Steam Next Fest: Party Rush!!

I was still on the RPG kick, so the next game I decided to check out was Party Rush!!, by Sechan. In this world, monsters could be summoned from another dimension through Red Party Rooms, and Party Makers are humans with the distinct honor of summoning through the rooms to help humanity. You play as Peppermint, a Party Maker that allies herself with a Party Maker organization with her personal demon John, and she finds that being a Party Maker is not all that it’s cracked up to be.

Battles are simple turn-based affairs. While Peppermint will always be in your party, the rest of the crew can be readily assembled, and man, there are a lot of possible party members. All skills used in battle requires you to build up MP, though it doesn’t seem like the enemy team is restricted by the same rule? Hard to tell, since for the most part, battles are pretty quick.

While the party members bring a lot of options to the table to play around with that expands as they level up, Peppermint does not. Her default skill is to summon a random character to perform a move – and I do mean random. You could be lucky and summon a tank to shell an enemy for massive damage… or get a bunch of chickens that do really miniscule damage to a whole group. Though, she gets more utility in that she can use a team skill if you have certain combinations of party members present and alive. I just wish that she had something more readily convenient and accessible, for somebody that’s required to be in the party.

So, I’d say that leads into my biggest issue with Party Rush: its ideas don’t fully blend well together or aren’t well realized.

For one thing, there’s a gacha game system where you get more party members… but also, you regularly gain more party members if you actually do the side quests, and there are a lot of side quests. The gacha gives a lot of more weirder, unique party members, sure, but it’s hard to justify buying into them past the initial two summons when the free ones you get from quests are actually good in themselves.

Additionally, putting together a party is… just really annoying. To rearrange the party, you have to go home and then go to a separate screen, where you must walk up to each individual character you want, talk to them, then recruit them. For the love of god, use a normal party member change plug-in like this or this one if you’re using MZ. Like sure, you can’t see the specific traits or skills within this menu, but it’d be less time consuming to add someone to the party in a menu, check them in the same menu, then switch them out for someone else instead of the system present. Because of this, I honestly didn’t care about getting gacha party members because I didn’t want to spend the time rearranging my party just to see if they were up to snuff. Why would I recruit the Vocaloid when this dragon I got from a sidequest already hits hard and tanks hits like a beast?

Every day is Tuesday………..

Another weird element is that the game initially presents a calendar system, which made me think, “oh, I can only do one quest” today. But it’s actually completely arbitrary, and it makes me wish it wasn’t. Say that there actually is a day system implemented, or at least, implemented more properly. When exploring, you see that there’s a bunch of quests available, but imagine if the system limits how many of those quests you can actually do. Doing the quests would feel more meaningful if you can pick and choose what to do, and it’d also fix the problem of too many side quest recruits downplaying the gacha system.

But then again, advancing the story does indicate time is progressing. So it’s possible that there actually is a time system – it’s just not implemented properly. It’s honestly possible since the demo forcibly ends because of a glitch with a missing sound effect.

As for the story, I’m in a weird place with it because there’s a mix of ideas I like and ideas I hate.

What I hate is that it gestures toward bungled anti-racism message… with monsters that could tear anyone apart. A frustrating moment happens when some bee monsters are introduced immediately after Peppermint has a conversation with John about respecting creatures pulled in from Red Party Rooms, in that the bees are clearly confused by their situation… and their first reaction is to attack Peppermint because she looks tasty to eat.

You can’t do this. You can’t make anti-racism stories using fictional races that people have every right to be afraid of.

On things that are good, Party Rush examines what it means to be a monster summoner in this world – and it turns out, people fucking hate Party Makers. From ordinary human civilians that are scared of Peppermint for summoning monsters – even just to help – to the monsters themselves because summoning them pulls them away from their own lives, being a Party Maker means being a huge cosmic asshole. And also, while not explicitly said, the fact that you can summon humans from the gacha presents the idea that humans and monsters are fundamentally in the same boat with regards to the rules of the world – and that, bad portrayal of racism aside, they could easily co-exist. I think that it’d be interesting to examine the role of a monster summoner and to examine how a world adjusts to the existence of monsters, it’s just that I’m not sure if Party Rush could pull it off.

Party Rush leaves me with conflicted feelings, because there’s definitely some ideas in there that I like, but they’re mixed in with a bunch of bad and half-baked ones. Like, I want to make up random parties just to see how they work, but it’s too much of a hassle and there’s no incentive to do so. But hey, if Party Rush does address the issues I have, I’d be happy to check it out in the future.

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