Let me take you back a bit. Remember floppy disks? Remember games such as Monkey Island, Sam & Max and Day of the Tentacle?
When I got my DS, the first thing I thought would be really good to play were these games; Point and Click adventure games where the animation was actually done by an illustrator and people had a knack of writing good dialogue and good narratives, usually to make you laugh.
Well, this isn’t something I have forgotten about. Hell, I still play these games on my PC and they still bring hours of fun but the DS would be perfect for games like this. The stylus can act as a mouse and the DS was never designed for super graphics so the different animation style would work perfectly. For some reason though, game designers never heard my cry for these games. That is, until Hotel Dusk.
Hotel Dusk is one of those games that always looked like it was going to be special. The first screen shots of it were enough to make me take notice (which is quite difficult these days). There’s something about the style of animation that made it look interesting; you hold the DS sideways, like a book, which also made it seem different; and the name, Hotel Dusk, just oozes with cool. Then the mention that it was going to be an adventure puzzle game made me even more excited. The time had finally come for a game that the DS was designed for.
The story revolves around the character Kyle Hyde, ex Detective, and his attempts to find his old partner who betrayed him on their last case. You end up in Hotel Dusk where each of the other suspicious guests keep you entertained, each with a story somehow linked with your own.
This is like a detective novel that you can control and the narrative is brilliant. There’s an incredible air if mystery around every character and the Hotel and it’s up to you to work them out.
Dialogue in the game is extremely realistic and adds to the thrill of the story. There is a lot of dialogue but you are rarely bored with it. The animation of the characters is really well done; like really nice comic book sketches that are constantly animated in a very unfinished way. This may sound like a fault but it works perfectly to keep the eerie feeling alive.
The control method is perfect. The touch screen displays a bird’s-eye view of the room you are in and you guide your man around by touching him and moving the stylus in the direction you want to. The other screen shows the 3D representation of what your character can see which helps to make the scenery seem more real.
Sections of the scenery are interactive and you can move the 3D view to the touch screen so that you can look at things. A lot of the time, this is how you enter puzzles. Puzzles are intuitive to the DS features. It’s amazing how some of the puzzles really work on your imagination, meaning that you do not necessarily use your stylus to complete them.
My only nag at this game is that there is not nearly enough puzzles and that they seem too easy. The better ones are the ones that really utilise all the features of the DS and make you think outside the box but on the most part they simply use the stylus. Also, it is quite easy to forget what you were supposed to be doing next in this game since the story isn’t always obvious and this leaves you wandering around trying to click on everything until something works.
These few mistakes don’t taint the game that much, though, and I really loved playing this game because it made me feel like I was playing another point and click from old times again. And a story this good should never be missed.