Adventure games have found a comfortable little niche on the Nintendo DS, and they rarely come as stylish and well presented as Hotel Dusk: Room 215.
You play ex-NYPD door to door salesman Kyle Hyde, a man who spends his days glaring at people and drinking too much bourbon. He is, of course, no ordinary door to door salesman, he makes a living on the side working for an old pal in the NYPD “recovering certain items … if you see what I mean”, which I initially took to mean “I rob banks”, or “I kill people for money”. Instead, in the manner of a true adventure game protagonist, he picks up items and places them in his inventory and some idiot pays him to do it.
You are sent to Hotel Dusk to recover a porn magazine and a red box, within an hour you have found both items and it’s on to unraveling Kyle Hyde’s sordid back story, which means talking to people, and then talking to them some more. Once you’ve finished with the talking you’re going to have to get someone else’s view on that, which means walking to the next prescribed encounter and touching the screen every now and then to move the conversation along. Occasionally you will be presented with a choice of responses so that you don’t fall into a coma, but these simply trigger a three or four line detour in the conversation. The puzzles, when they happen, are fun and make good use of the stylus controls, but there aren’t enough of them to break up the formula.
That’s not to say there isn’t a lot to be gained from Hotel Dusk. The characters are brilliantly drawn and animated, adding extra depth and meaning to the reams of text you’ll be reading. The game is for the most part extremely well written and the characters that inhabit the rooms of Hotel Dusk are the real stars of the show, from hippy ex-con turned janitor Louis to the perfectly lovely old woman who would seem ordinary if it weren’t for her massive eye patch. There’s a story in that eye patch, and everything else for that matter. Everybody is suspect and the game oozes thick treacly intrigue from the outset. Just be warned, this is as slow-burn as a game can get. As an indication it took me an hour to complete the initial section, which spans half an hour of game time.
If you’re looking for more action and excitement in your adventuring then investigate the Phoenix Wright series, but pay a visit to Hotel Dusk to for a more mature and lingering mystery, just make sure you can devote enough time and patience to solving this lengthy and involving game.
Things that happened while playing this game.
– Drew rude pictures in the notebook.
– Got stuck and walked around the hotel knocking on every single door, twice.
– Fell asleep.