76 people found this review helpful 2 people found this review funny
1.6 hrs on record
Posted: December 25, 2013
Bad Hotel is bizarre. Not the sort of bizarre that makes you marvel at the creator's creativity and originality, the bizarre that leaves you scratching your head as to what you are playing, why you are playing it, and how it came to exist in the first place. A tower defense game hidden underneath a music experiment, Bad Hotel is an apply named oddity which seems to want to do nothing but be different no matter how detrimental it is to the experience.
Taking on the role as the owner of a new hotel, you are besieged by your greedy competitor whose sole goal is to destroy your building piece by piece, sending waves of rampaging animal suicide bombers (parallels could be drawn to terrorist attacks, but I highly doubt the developers were aiming for anything that heavy). To counteract the attack you must place rooms (which give you cash) and turrets (which destroy oncoming enemies), which connect to your hotel like a patchwork quilt and add a new sound bite to the "soundtrack". Despite sounding novel on paper this is where everything starts to unravel.
Levels are terribly unbalanced, with certain ones requiring near perfection to complete and others offering no difficulty whatsoever. Completing a level successfully never felt like anything but luck to me, and by altering your arsenal each level the developers remove the free-form strategy of traditional TD games and all but force you to follow their plan for how you place each room. This subliminal linearity makes it aggravating to continually fail a level and unsatisfying when you eventually, a combination that sapped any motivation I might have had to continue playing.
The music created by the various sounds of each tower is anything but melodic, more akin to a skipping CD or a telephone booth with various beeps and buzzes all combining into an awful mess of sounds and clashing time signatures. I would consider myself open minded when it comes to music but Bad Hotel did nothing but give me a terrible headache and reaching for the mute button. Visually it is just as disorganized and ugly even for previously being a mobile game, and the art and interface have had little if any work done to them for the PC version (a trend that seems to be happening more and more often).
I absolutely love tower defense, music, and experimental games more so than I can say, but Bad Hotel did nothing to keep me interested and everything to drive me away, despite how much I should have liked it. There is a decent amount of content here for the price, but I doubt many will bother to see most of it as it isn't enjoyable to play. There is something to be said for trying to do something unique, but this is a perfect example of how badly that goal can backfire. I cannot recommend playing or purchasing Bad Hotel in anyway, and can only hope it doesn't take too long to wash the awful taste it left me with.
You can read more of my writing on Kritiqal[kritiqal.com].
123 people found this review helpful 7 people found this review funny
2.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 21, 2013
You know how sometimes you play a game and you call it "experimental" and it's really cool because it stands out and there's nothing like it and you're glad someone is doing neat, innovative things? And then other times you hear the phrase "experimental" said, but you've got a different tone of voice and it's more of a "I feel like my wallet and my time have just been vivisected" fashion?
Yeah this one's the latter. Your hotel has a core you defend at all costs, every "world" has its own sound patterns per block, and a beat rate the game matches with all the little rooms you build onto it. Some give you more cash, others fire at enemies, some are kamikaze or healing rooms, and every 5 levels there's a boss. That's it. Nothing else. It's modified tower defense but your towers are basically a music tracker. Not even a challenge mode or endless play for when you finish the rather-short campaign. (The closest you get to this is the later worlds all have a gimmick "no weapon/kamikaze-only" stage which, overall, is less fun than it sounds.)
Also the music sounds really interesting in the trailer, right? Yeah, nothing you make in-game is going to sound so cool and trip-hoppy. It's instead going to sound like an auditory seizure. On the subject of music: do you like the Wu-Tang Clan? Get ready to groan at a ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ of references to their songs in the between-level text. Which... isn't even on every stage. The game couldn't come up with 25 single-sentence lines of dialogue, that's actually the perfect metaphor for how this feels more like a gimmick than a game.
In writing this review, I'm assuming that most people who are drawn to Bad Hotel were wowed by the haunting music and surreal experience they saw pictured in the trailer, as I was. In short, I'm here to regretfully inform you that the truth behind the matter is that the only thing "insane" about this tower defense hybrid is its learning curve. It's almost safe to say that if Bad Hotel were an RPG, the creators of Dark Souls would be taking note.
-Gameplay & Controls- Bad Hotel plays out in a rather straight-forward fashion: as the manager of a hotel in an unexplicably hospitable vacation destination, you must strategically construct rooms to keep your building intact for a specified period of time. Certain rooms garner certain abilities, with some giving your hotel an increased source of income while others come equipped with missiles or gravity-defying mines to blow away any miscreant who happens to attempt an assault on your futuristic space Marriott. Although the first several levels serve as a basic and relatively easy introduction to the room types, the player is subsequently dropped into a boss fight with rage-inducing difficulty, forced to watch their pastel pixelated polygons repeatedly destroyed over and over again without any indication as to how you are supposed to be constructing a "sound" hotel. (That pun was entirely unintentional, and I only recognized its genius upon rereading that sentence.) Assuming you decide to keep playing after this point, you'll find several more sets of levels during which one's annoyance with Bad Hotel will range from that of watching the Star Wars prequels to being forcefully confined to a small room where the only source of light comes from a television playing Kingdom of the Crystal Skull on loop for 24 hours. If that sounds like your cup of tea, then by all means, go ahead; it is still a playable and fully functional game, but I think I'd be lying if I said I enjoyed my time with Bad Hotel.
-Graphics & Visuals- Graphically, the game isn't much to look at. As previously mentioned, the game is basically comprised of pastel shapes over a background with a slightly unnerving pallet, whereas the enemies in Bad Hotel largely seem to consist of pixelated gulls and some very aggressive clouds. It never quite gives off the effect that one originally perceived it would have from the trailers, instead going for a manner that not only neglects to fully please but fails to live up to the hype. However, what graphics there are do appear to compliment whatever misunderstood direction the game actually takes, so I suppose that counts for something.
-Audio & Music- This is my biggest gripe about Bad Hotel. If there were ever a case of false advertising by companies porting questionable mobile tower defense games, then this would be the one. What I neglected to mention earlier in my review is that this game serves a dual purpose in that it is also a procedural music generator. What this means for the consumer, however, is that the haunting, chilling tones from the game's trailer which made it sound so deliciously appealing in the first place are nowhere to be found, instead replaced with a selection of noises that in Lucky Frame's perspective better suited their pixelated amalgamation. Still, I did find myself on occassion putting more effort into creating vividly pleasing sounds than attempting to clear a level, so some points have to be awarded for ingenuity. While the creation of musical undertones through the building process is actually rather rewarding in its own way, I can't help but feel that Lucky Frame regrettably missed the mark on this one, if simply because Bad Hotel gives away an entirely different experience than the one that had been promised.
-Final Thoughts- Well, there you have it -- my two cents on Bad Hotel. While I admittedly have not spent a large portion of time on the game, I feel that the impression I received was strong enough to justify such opinions. If I happen to play the game for a longer stretch (although I'm not quite sure how anyone could spend a considerable amount of time on the game, as despite its difficulty it appears rather short) and decide that any part of my initial review is unjustified, I'll reexamine my editorial. Until such a time, however, I leave you with the final statement that I ultimately was more entertained watching the trailer for Bad Hotel than I was actually playing Bad Hotel. If that impacts your purchase, than so be it.
Bad Hotel is pretty bad. It's a hectic game, with not enough breathing room between waves and a stupidly weird difficulty spike at the end of world 2. Plus, simplistic, childish graphics do not equal 'art'. It's a weird idea, and let me tell you that weird games can be some of the best games out there, but this one just doesn't work. I can see it working on an iPhone (like it originally did), but for us PC gamers there are so many other tower defense games out there that are just so much better in its execution.
The hotel is certainly bad - both boring & hard. Just a standart tower defence against waves coming from all sides. The minimalist design didn't appeal to me, the colors alone make me cringe. The musical sequencer mechanics doesn't really stand out, more like a side noise feature to it - in the process of building the defences you'll never get time to even pay attention to how those elements sound.
The presentation here is just nasty. The looping tonal beat is similar to what you’d expect if an application had crashed and the pulsating neon colours are nauseatingly unpleasant.
Underneath this garish exterior is a very simple tower defence game. There no enemy routing, instead you place blocks around a main hotel block that you need to defend. It’s not a very interesting concept and there’s really not much to recommend here.
5 people found this review helpful 2 people found this review funny
7.0 hrs on record
Posted: April 25, 2015
After watching the trailer for this game it seemed like a really interesting minimalistic take on the tower defense genre with a cool artstyle and nice music. So far the theory. In reality not much of what you see in the trailer is present in the game. The music consists of sounds made by your rooms (i.e. towers) that don't form a melodious whole but end up driving you to the brink of insanity with cacophonous chaos. But it's not all about the music, you might say? Well, the game starts of interesting, you build your rooms and defeat your first waves of enemies. However, the levels are so unbalanced that some will be laughably easy only to be followed by a level that is hard to complete even after seeing how it's supposed to be done. Thankfully you can at least skip levels. All of them, in fact, which is what I'd advise you to do. Don't bother to get this one.