Bad Hotel
Gameplay 7
Graphics 7
Sound 7

Bad Hotel is a iOS port and while at first glance it might not seem like much to look at it does have a certain charm to it. The unique gameplay lends itself perfectly to quick bouts of playing, but the game can also become horribly addictive. The generative audio is also a nice touch, although at times the tunes can sound a bit wonky. The game is sold at a bargain price so it is well worth checking out for yourself.

Gameplay: Fast, frantic and surprisingly addictive.

Graphics: Simple but charming.

Sound: The audio depends on your playing style

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Bad Hotel

Developer: Lucky Frame | Publisher: Lucky Frame | Release Date: 2013 | Genre: Casual / Indie | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

Bad Hotel is a tower defense game that has made its way over to PC from the iOS platform. The game is quite unlike the usual entries in the genre and even packs a few features that you would not expect. I approached the game with mild curiosity, experienced the horror of nothing going as I expected or planned, continued playing with grim determination and eventually completed it with a great sense of accomplishment.

The basic idea is to expand your hotel using a selection rooms. Basic rooms generate income, but don’t have any offensive capabilities. Offensive rooms can stop enemies in their tracks, but are usually expensive and generate no income. You also have medical rooms that can restore the integrity of adjacent rooms so deciding what to build next is a constant balancing act. You lose the level if your core hotel is destroyed so your main priority is protecting the hotel, generating enough income to build more rooms and fending off the waves of enemies.

The game has a story that pits you against Tarnation Tadstock, who is some ne’er-do-well that wants to demolish your hard work for financial gain. Once you observe the approaching waves of seagulls, snakes, rats, yetis, swimmers, clouds and aliens you will quickly realize that this game doesn’t take itself very seriously though. Enemies attack from all directions and you can’t see their approach paths so you have to ensure that your hotel is fortified from all sides. The game played havoc with my compulsion for order and precision as rooms can be slapped together with scant regard for the laws of gravity, physics or practicality. The only stipulation is that each new room must touch an adjacent room when placed. Should a room supporting other rooms be destroyed, everything will come crashing down so building a tall hotel is definitely not an easy task.

After a short tutorial explaining the basics the game leaves you to your own devices and initially things can feel very overwhelming. New turret types are introduced without any explanations, meaning it takes some trial and error to discover what works and what doesn’t.

Some turrets shoot bullets, some mines while others freeze enemies for a few seconds. You are usually restricted to what rooms you can use on a level and sometimes the game sadistically tasks you with completing a level without any offensive capabilities. There is no restriction on how to build your hotel though, so you are only limited by the amount of money you are generating and how effective you are at fending off attacks. At the end of each area you also have to defeat Tarnation Tadstock who will attack you with some wild contraption or creature.

The game is quite challenging and my initial attempts at building a grandiose hotel ended in disaster. Fortunately, the game is also very addictive and each failure just made me more determined to complete a level. Some levels feel virtually impossible until you hit that perfect rhythm and dispatch the enemies before they can do their worst. Speaking of rhythm, the game is also a procedural music generator so while you are building your hotel the individual rooms generates the notes that make up the soundtrack. Everything from height to placement influences the notes and the results are surprisingly good. Of course, it can end up sounding like a cacophony at times but once you get used to the audio you’ll notice how perfectly it complements the chaotic gameplay. The art-deco style visuals look relatively simple on computer but give the game a nice retro charm and set it apart from other titles in the genre.

In total it took more just over four hours to complete all 25 levels spread across five areas  and win the final battle. The Steam achievements appeared to be bugged at the time of playing so I will definitely be going back for more once this technical hitch has been sorted out. Competitive players will also be glad to hear that the game supports global leaderboards. Later levels ramped up the challenge with no offensive capabilities apart from expensive exploding rooms but no matter what the odds I always found myself going back for “just one more round.” Bad Hotel is a game unlike any other and while it is probably not going to appeal to everyone the asking price is low enough to make it an impulse buy.

System Requirements

  • OS: XP
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Hard Drive: 150 MB available space
  • OS: 7
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • OS: 10.5
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Hard Drive: 150 MB available space
  • OS: 10.7
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM

OS: Ubuntu 12.04

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