Bad Hotel is a game that challenges the Tower Defense formula in a quite creative way. Instead of placing towers around a map, you have to build blocks around your Hotel, protecting it.
Each block has a different function, and you must combine them to fend off each wave.
While I really like the idea (and would like to play something like this), the execution is very poor... to the point that I'm not even going to complete it. And that's fairly rare for me.
The main problem with it is that the difficulty curve is incredibly steep, and relies a lot on trial and error. But first things first.Presentation
As you can see from the screenshots, the game looks very simple. But it has an elegant design that fits the style. Each chapter also has a different distinct look to it, so it keeps things fresh.
It's colorful and minimalistic, but there's much else I can say that you can't see for yourself.
It works, but it won't blow you away.
The music and sound effects
, on the other hand, were carefuly designed, and I really like what it's trying to do. Each block emits a sound to a beat. While you may get a cacophony when you have a lot of rooms, it always sets a nice break of flow whenever they're destroyed, as you notice it right away, just from the sound.
Sure, it's a little gimmicky, and, in this case, not very musical at all, but I like when games try to make the player influence the music. Each chapter also has a distinct sound to it, which is a plus.
So, what exactly is wrong with this game's design?
Well, first, the levels are not very interesting to actually play.
Basically, you have a room that serves are mere protection and moneymaker, and then you have Guns, Cannons, Freezing bullets, Healing rooms, and Bombs (as far as I got, anyway). Each category may or may not have more than one room available on a given level, but differences are simply on their cost/power.
You play the game by involving your Hotel in these rooms, to fight each wave. Different enemies may require different strategies to defeat them, which is cool. The problem is that the level's pacing is a bit too fast. Enemies come fast and furious, and you usually fail the level very fast, since you need a solid start to be able to keep up with the waves.
You are given absolutely NO information about your rooms (outside of actually trying them in the levels), and no information about the waves either. So you're just blindly going into each level... You need to resort to simple trial and error to beat them. And you know... it's no that fun to do that. You'll just have to keep buying rooms until something works, and you then follow it up until you beat the level.
Perhaps more information beforehand would have helped it a lot. You're not the one who chooses the rooms for each level, either. You have to make due with what you're given. But that's fine, it keeps you changing your strategy.
Then, the biggest problem (for me) is that the levels get incredibly difficult. It seems like there are very limited ways of beating each level, and the enemies easily overwhelm you, making you restart levels countless times until you find the right combination... and it's not very rewarding either.
The levels are pretty short, though, which keeps the frustrating lower than it would otherwise be. But overall, I was simply not having fun, and the rest of the game didn't seem to have much else to show.
To the game's credit, though, I'll say that they tried to keep the levels varied, making the player constantly change mindsets to beat different levels. For example, in some levels, you have no weapons. Which means that you'll just build freezing weapons and money blocks to hold enemies off for the time. On others you have to use more bombs, etc.
They actually feel pretty different, and it's great that they try to keep things fresh. Unfortunately, it is not enough.
The Boss fights weren't bad either, although they just seemed to be beaten by bruteforce alone, rather than with tactics...
Another very important issue, is that the game is broken. Pressing Esc should open the pause menu for you to restart the level, go back to the menu, etc. Well, sometimes, it does. Other times, it crashes the game. Sometimes, it will send you to some point in the previous level (halfway through it) and back to the present level at a second press. It usually crashes after that too.
Sounds confusing? Yeah, imagine MY reaction... I have no idea why that happens. But it happens a lot.
It also has a cruel pleasure out of deleting your saved games (I don't know why). However, you can just play any level whenever you want, so it's not THAT bad. Still annoying, but hey...
So yeah. I can't recommend this game at all. It has some interesting ideas, but it's just falls short of what it wanted to be. If the difficulty was more gradual, and the game didn't often crash when you want to restart a level (which you need to do a lot!), I may have enjoyed it far more, and finished it.
As it stands, though, it's just a not very well implemented idea, and one that I have no intention of experiencing to the end...