At first glance, when the oddly-titled Partyrs was booting up (pronounced 'partiers,' in reference to the party-goers that populate the game), we expected some manner of time management game, along the lines of Diner Dash. Which, in fact, we were quite looking forward to.
A moment or two into the game's strange world, it revealed itself to be something quite unexpected. Partyrs is, in fact, the weirdest puzzle game we've chanced across in a very long time.
Let's get this party started
Although they don't all appear right at the outset, Partyrs plays host to over 30 different bizarre creatures that are all looking to have a good time (no, not that kind of good time. This is totally family friendly).
To that end, they're attending one of your legendary parties, and as the gracious host, it's up to you to make sure everyone has a blast.
If you've ever had folk round your house, you'll know how tricky that can be, and it's that that Partyrs's gameplay stems from. Your job is to arrange your party pals about the room so that each one is having a good time. Of course, they don't all want the same thing. In fact, none of them do.
One girl creature, for example, likes to dance, so she only cheers up when you put her next to the speaker. Another guy likes to get his booze on, so he has to be next to the bottles. This chap likes to keep company with the cat, while the cat doesn't want to be near the dog.
There's a configuration waiting to be unearthed that allows you to position your guests on an invisible grid and leave them all pleased as punch. If you do it within a set number of moves, your party is success and social acclaim is yours.
Do the monster mash
As the game progresses, more and more creatures begin attending your splendid soirees, each with their own ideas as to what makes the perfect party. Moving the furniture around also becomes an option.
All this is presented with a highly-stylised, caricatured visual flair. The graphics are minimal, yet come to vibrant life thanks to both the strangeness of the designs and the cute, bobbing animations of the happy critters.
Music and background noise are used to great effect to help you identify pleased partiers - they swig noisily at their new-found bottles, or snap photos of the shindig from their ideal new vantage point.
And the whole thing works beautifully. Partyrs is actually a pretty simple puzzle game at heart, but it's not remotely obvious from the smooth, fresh gameplay and presentation.
It's a game that delivers one pleasant surprise after another, until you find yourself subtly repositioned by its charms into enjoying every last minute of if.
Much like the guests at your peculiar parties.
Want more? Check out our growing collection of Partyrs articles!