Point and clicks are a crowded market and now reaching out to a new audience thanks in part to Telltale's highly sucessful Walking Dead. Knowing this, it is hard to tell new point and clickers that this game rivals Walking Dead, because it does not. This is not a heart wrenching, emoitonal trip that makes you sick to your stomach. Instead Hotel Lisbon is a lighthearted game that follows a questionably capable detective and his robot sidekick/ unfunny comedian.
Hotel Lisbon is dripping with style: the color choices, retro style, and music all come together to deliver a very pleasing aesthetic. The animations and characters feel classic in design, but still very refreshing. The setting is filled with nice little details and feels well structured. On top of all this, the music fits well through the game.
The humor in the game is more hits than misses. Some of the humor comes from poking at unfunny things (laugh track included), being legitimately funny, and sometimes just being silly or breaking the fourth wall. Sometimes I feel like the humor went right over me, but mostly I enjoyed it.
The gameplay is somewhat detective like. You are tasked with solving cases by finding evidence, which never feels too
hard and is usually done by finding highlightable items throughout different environments. After gathering your evidence you then have to interview/interrogate suspects as Clown Bot or Detective Case by making three accusations. You have to choose the accusations from a small list and then match that up to evidence. One choice is obviously wrong and unrelated to evidence and the others are related to evidence. However, this is where the game can begin to stretch out and lose its charm.
Sometimes the wording of the "right" accusation to make can seem strange. The suspect seems to get angry when I insult them, but all of the choices seem to be insulting. The other major issue with interviewing is that sometimes suspects will only crack when they are being interrogated by Clown Bot or Detective Case, so even if you get all your questions right you might have to redo the whole interview with the other character. To make this problem worse, upon failing the interview, either character will suggest trying the interview instead. So you could potentially be stuck in the same interview for too long before it starts to eat away at you. All of these issues can lead to interviews becoming tedious and tiring. However, the game will not lead you into an impossible interrogation because you need to have sufficient evidence in order to start one.
In addition to the main cases there are a few side cases (with more promised) and a mini game featuring Clown Bot. The side cases run like the main cases (with the exception of the lost video tapes, which involves combing the environment). The mini game has Clown Bot telling jokes and you delivering the punchline in multiple choice format. You get a few tries before having to restart and speed factors into your score, but it is a nice little distraction.
The wording of questions and punchlines seem to be a bit strange (probably due to translation), but that is only a minor setback for this game. The style and humor make this a fun experience, as long as the interviews don't overstay their welcome. None of the puzzles or sleuthing will leave you scratching your head, but this short point and click adventure is full of charm and character.