Bad Hotel Review

Our Review by Rob LeFebvre on August 14th, 2012
Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: BAD LOVES HOTEL
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What could be better than Pugs Love Beatz? Why, a game about building a hotel while defending it from swimmers, clouds, and birds with bombs, of course!

Developer: Lucky Frame
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4, new iPad

Graphics / Sound Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Game Controls Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar

From the makers of Pugs Love Beats comes an equally offbeat game, Bad Hotel. In it, players are tasked with building up a hotel per level using various room models that bring income or defend against the hordes of attacking birds, clouds, and - yes - swimmers.

This is a castle defense game at its core, and the gameplay is similar to other games in the genre. Keep building, fast and furious, balancing the income potential of various types of money-creating rooms with the fact that the attacking creatures do. not. stop. coming.

Developer Lucky Frame continues to employ the generative music it brought to life in Pugs Love Beatz, as each room has a distinctive tonal pitch and timbre; building a hotel creates a soundscape that's completely unique and delightful to listen to. Headphones are strongly recommended while playing.

The artwork is splendid, with flat 2D artwork full of whimsy and joy. The clouds are grumpy, the evil overlord is dastardly yet surprisingly free with his plans to destroy the hotel for a big insurance payoff, and the backgrounds and other bits and bobs of visual trim evoke the Monopoly big-wig from the classic board game. It's all excellent fun and quite the challenge to boot.

The biggest issue here, however, is with the touch interface itself. Many levels require specific placement strategies to complete, let alone complete well. The square rooms are tapped and dragged onto the playing field, to surround and defend the central hotel building rectangle. When that rectangle loses all health, it's game over. Well, more like level over, start over.

Anyway, when the square rooms are placed, they interact oddly with other, already-placed rooms. What seems like a simple drag to place control scheme quickly becomes an exercise in frustration, as carefully thought out layouts become willy-nilly random placements of room and weapon elements in ways that show more of the frantic pace than any specific strategic placement. I realize that one room cannot be placed atop another room, but does it truly need to leap aside at the merest hint of contiguity-plus? I say no.

Besides this odd control jumpiness, Bad Hotel is a delicious treat for eyes, ears, and intellect. It's a delightful way to spend some time in a nice comfy chair, iPad in hand, with perhaps a glass of wine and fuzzy slippers upon the feet. Bravo to Lucky Frame for taking their own style of game and music creation to this new more actual game than toy iPad app.


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