Hotel Dusk: Room 215 (NDS) – Review

Hotel Dusk Cover Hotel Dusk: Room 215 is another adventure game put out for the Nintendo DS by Cing, following on their early title “Trace Memory”. Hotel Dusk borrows much of the concepts from Trace Memory in a good way, and works in a rather great, multilayered, gritty story with additional good gameplay concepts for a text adventure game. Unfortunately, the game comes off a bit too linear and too easy for it’s target audience, though still is definitely a good “read” for the story it provides.

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Hotel Dusk: Room 215 (NDS) – Initial Impressions

I always though the two current portable systems would make for great point and click adventure games in the vein of the old LucasArts ones.  Phoenix Wright shows there’s definitely a market for story-driven games and the DS is a great platform for it.  “Trace Memory”, a game released earlier by Cing (who are being Hotel Dusk) shows elements that could work for an adventure game using the DS, though the game itself is rather easy and geared towards younger audiences.

Hotel Dusk takes what Cing did in Trace Memory and adds a gritty detective story on top of it, making it much more pleasing experience for older gamers looking for a good adventure game.  Most of the game is spent in conversation but there will be times that you can choose the path through a conversation, note when a NPC gives you a new line of questioning, and the like.  You interact with objects in various ways using the DS pad, and you move about the game world using the touchpad to guide yourself on a floorplan while the simple 3D representation of the world occurs on the other screen, allowing you to then inspect and manipulate objects as needed. (As noted by many, the game has you turn the DS sidewise like a book (similar to Brain Age), adaptable to left and right handedness as needed).

I’m already about 2 hrs into it (real time, I’m only into the 2nd half hour of game time) and I still don’t have a good clue as to what’s going on within the plot.  The art use is wonderful, using limited animated pencil/colored sketches to show the characters speaking and displaying emotions.   The difficulty isn’t too hard – yet, as most of my actions pretty much feel linear (eg I had to get money to pay for the room, but I needed to open the suitcase first, meaning I needed to find a way to open it up to start with), but it feels like the game can get divergent later.