Impressions of Hotel Dusk: Room 215

Playing Hotel Dusk: Room 215 is sort of like taking an old, beat-up car on spring break. She's not much to look at, but she'll get the job done. The environmental graphics in Hotel Dusk are ugly as sin, but the story instantly grabs you by the throat and forces you to press onward. Hotel Dusk is an adventure game where you play as Kyle Hyde, a former cop looking for his backstabbing partner. From the moment you set foot in the hotel, and as every character begins to have some connection to your past, you can't help but want to unravel the mystery.

While the environments are visually insulting, the character art is rather inspiring and unique among games. Many writers have aptly compared it to the 1985 A-Ha music video, "Take On Me." The characters are black and white pencil drawings, but the shading is constantly in flux, making the characters seem a little more dynamic than the flatness found in games like Phoenix Wright. Talking to characters is a real treat, just to be able to see the attractive artwork and read the mostly believable dialogue. I can't even imagine the headache I'd get if the character graphics were as ugly as the backgrounds. I'll take stylistic graphics over realism any day of the week.

I'm roughly halfway through the game, and would so far wholeheartedly recommend it. However, I did have trouble adjusting to this game from Phoenix Wright. I kept wanting to present evidence and press for more information to advance the story, but usually all you need to do is find all the items and speak to the characters that are available. I also consider myself a speedy reader, and was disappointed that I couldn't tap the screen to speed up the dialogue. This game is very slow, so be prepared. Despite these small gripes, there's a lot to like, especially in the story department. The characters are all unique and have a good measure of personality, and the game's challenging without being too difficult. I've only been temporarily stuck twice in 8 hours of game play.

I've still got a number of mysteries to solve, and I'll write another post when I finish the game. Who says adventure games are dead? As long as the story has a good hook, I'll gladly welcome more games like Hotel Dusk: Room 215.

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