Platforms: Nintendo DS
Developer: Cing Inc.
Rating: PG (Mild themes, infrequent mild violence)
Hotel Dusk Room 215 was a very peculiar game to play but nonetheless one that I really enjoyed. Right from the start, the whole ‘Sherlock Holmes’ mystery theme transports it from slightly ‘weird’ into entirely engaging and it really caught me by surprise. You begin the game by taking on the role of an ex-cop turned salesman named ‘Kyle Hyde’ who is on a mission to find a missing friend. And with each touch of your stylus, you seem to get pulled further and further into the mystery of Hotel Dusk Room 215.
Hotel Dusk Room 215 really feels like a graphic novel. Click your stylus, turn the page – it’s all the same. Whereas a graphic novel relies on you turning a page to uncover the next part of the story, the game just needs you to interact and control the dialogue.
Speaking of dialogue, whilst the story itself is well developed (you are told that room 215 is apparently a room that grants people’s wishes), the dialogue seems a little slow in places, almost like you keep waiting for the punch line for the joke to come but you keep having to repeat the joke without ever getting to the punch line. It’s very s-l-o-w which almost kills the momentum.
The level of interaction in the game is obviously what makes the DS such a great little handheld. And it certainly caters well to the way this game needs to be played by flipping your DS anti-clockwise. With the left hand screen acting as the ‘background’ screen and the right hand screen acting as the ‘interaction’ screen, the game play really is fun. You can walk your way around a room with your stylus on the right hand screen and watch the animation occur on the left as you ‘move’ through the room. It’s very cool.
Unravelling the story is only half the fun. As you interact with different characters, behind the scenes your character is trying to piece the entire mystery together, just as if you were Sherlock Holmes himself! Hotel Dusk Room 215 also has its fair share of mini-puzzles that you’ll need to figure out in the game as part of Kyle Hyde’s interrogation of Hotel Dusk’s somewhat shady guests. It’s all very mysterious.
Graphically, the game kicks all sorts of butt from the sketchy ‘graphic novel’ animation right down to the level of detail in the hotel. The only thing we weren’t too keen on was the background music. At times it felt like we were trapped in a mall elevator with mall-style ‘muzak’ playing over and over like a broken record.
Games for the DS seem to go from strength to strength all the time and Hotel Dusk Room 215 is certainly an entertaining game that has a very special appeal. If you’re a puzzle and mystery game lover, you’ll enjoy Hotel Dusk Room 215. Just don’t forget to return the room key once you’re done, OK?
• The ‘graphic novel’ animation really gives this game a nifty, unique look
• The character interaction is well developed
• The muzak! Kill the muzak, already.
• Dialogue a little slow at times which seemed to slow the pace of the game