Milk Party Palace is a choicey game made in Unity. It is about Alec Baldwin, who really needs some milk for his milk party, and you are the guy to get it. (Which one is Alec? Pretty sure it’s not the one who plays asshole thugs in every TV show and also the Internet. OK, it’s the one who plays asshole capitalists.)
The protagonist of Milk Party Palace is a lowly hotel clerk. The clerk encounters Alec Baldwin, who tempts him with visions of fame and glory (a ‘milk party’) if only they’ll procure six gallons of milk for him. Alas, various hotel guests have appropriated the hotel’s milk supply and you have to go around various rooms and negotiate with their weird inhabitants in order to get the milk back, a gallon at a time.
The thing this reminds me of most is Bell Park, Youth Detective, insofar as you’re dealing with weird characters who you can’t really figure out. The difference between Milk Party Palace and Brendan Hennessy’s work, though, is that generally in a Hennessy game I know what the joke is. Here, things are mostly just odd and not-quite-funny, in a way that suggests that there’s a reference that I’m missing. (Some of the jokes work. The one about Madagascar II is pretty good.)
The one obvious call-out was to Sherwin Shayegan, a guy with Asperger’s notorious for roaming the US trying to get piggy-back rides from high-school athletes – which, to me, seems like more of a tragic story than anything. But that kind of sets the tone – a bunch of characters who don’t really fit in with the world and do things that appear pretty inexplicable from the outside. None of them appears to want the milk for drinking.
The protagonist’s motivation is largely about wanting to get close to fame, in the hope that some of it will rub off and elevate him from his shitty life. (What’s a milk party? Is it a sex thing? It’s probably a sex thing, right?) But when you get to the actual party, it appears to be populated by the same weirdos you scavved the milk off in the first place. Maybe the point is that Alec Baldwin, for all his fame, is basically one of those weirdos too. Maybe we are all weirdos, doing the equivalent of drinking glue in our respective hotel rooms. But this is kind of a wild-ass guess.
Being built from the ground up in Unity, it’s not tied to the assumptions of existing platforms, and there are some mildly interesting design choices: the options are in big blue all-caps over to the right, while the body text is over to the left. This is… perfectly fine, though I don’t see any obvious advantages. More odd is the fancified text: it’s a really nice clean font, but there’s a vector effect on it that feels like overkill. It also has text that… I dunno what the proper word for it is, but the words fade smoothly and progressively into sight in a kind of teletype effect. Mercifully, you can skip past this by clicking again, but it’s a WHY WOULD YOU EVEN DO THAT kind of design. Similarly, the options swoosh up from the bottom in an Apple-y manner – which I hardly even noticed on the first playthrough, but became kind of irritating when trying to quickly play through in order to check stuff.
I got to what felt like most of the way through the game – into the fabled Milk Party itself – and it froze on the ‘next part’ option, just after I’d talked to all of the guests.
It is possible that there is a profound and hilarious truth embedded somewhere deep in the heart of Milk Party Palace. I will not be the person to discover it.