November 28, 2009

Review: Hotel Dash: Suite Success

game format: time management | arcade

puzzles: none

playtime: 3 hours (Story Mode) | difficulty: easy

developer: Kef Sensei | publisher: Big Fish Games / Playfirst

links: Official site | Buy this game

Hotel Dash: Suite Success
game brief: When Quinn’s new travel business hits a snag, she needs Flo’s patented elbow grease to help renovate and run hotels all over DinerTown! Experience a Hotel Dash as you deliver guests' luggage, drop off room service and provide extra towels and blankets! Use your tips to decorate and restore each hotel back to its original charm in this fast-paced Time Management game!

review: Dash Heroine Flo returns, this time to help pal Quinn iron out the bumps in her fledgling travel planning business, in the aptly-titled Hotel Dash: Suite Success.

Quinn hits her first roadblock when she extends her services from travel booking to honeymoon planning for newlyweds Tony and Vicky. The couple wants to remain in town to be close to Tony's business, and Quinn books them into Dinertown Suites, little knowing that the place has gone to seed over the years. With only 10 days to go before the couple arrives, Quinn turns to Flo for help to restore - and exceed - Dinertown Suites' old glory, and to make Tony and Vicky's honeymoon a success.

Flo's quick service with a smile soon transforms Dinertown Suites into the most-wanted hotel in town. But wait, there's more... trouble. Margarita and her parents are shut out of their vacation lodge due to snow, and the girls rally to fix up the Alpine Ski Resort to ensure that their trip does not end in disaster. 10 days, and the Resort is ready...

...and so are Quinn and Flo, to move on to their next challenge, the Stark Executive Suites in the city. Pal Cassie needs to wow visiting investors - starting with their accommodation. The city is full of demanding clients: businesswomen, celebrities and socialites, which makes Stark the most challenging of the hotels restored by the duo.

With Stark converted into a buzzing business hub, Quinn and Flo change gears to rebuild holiday hotel Tiki Palace in time for Darla's parents' tropical getaway. Tiki moves along at a relaxed place, with generally patient tourists as its primary guests.

Which brings the dedicated duo to the final hotel on the makeover list, the crumbling, haunted gothic marvel Dunwich House! A truly spooky atmosphere and terrific theme music - not the mention the real ghosts it has as guests - make Dunwich the most interesting restoration project.

The game stays staunchly loyal to the Dash Family Values in terms of design, artwork and game-play. It starts with a quick tutorial, introducing core items and taking gamers through basic tasks. It's good enough to get going, and the rest is easily picked up once the game is afoot.

The concept is straightforward: guests arrive at the hotel and must be checked in, then provided with their luggage, room service, and sundry items like towels, pillows and kibble for their pets. Once the guests eat, hit the pool and/or the gym, and take a nap, Flo needs to check them out and put the laundry for cleaning. In between, she mops up spilled water and broken flower vases, dispels hauntings by naughty ghosts, clicks photos for the tourists, wakes up oversleeping and/or sleepwalking guests, puts welcome gift baskets in empty rooms, and investigates a girl in a green trenchcoat who appears to be sabotaging the hotels.

The guests look and act the same as earlier Dash patrons - cheerful girls, honeymooning couples, camera-crazy tourists, impatient businesswomen, clumsy clowns, annoying teenagers, sultry socialites loaded with luggage, celebrities with aggressive bodyguards, men with dogs, and men with beer guts. However, they are all noticeably calmer than they've been in past games, and the situation never really gets overwhelming. Guest losses due to irritation are few, and limited largely to the businesswomen, who are - understandibly - the crankiest.

As usual, the guests are coloured either blue, green, yellow or red, as are the rooms, and there are bonuses for matching the guest colour repeatedly to the room colour. Points are also earned for chaining activities and fast service. Customer hearts lost due to room allotment / service delays can be won back with quick service, a chilled glass of water, or, for those waiting in the lobby, some live music from the resident musician.

Various upgrades can be purchased with the profits to make the hotel more attractive (wallpapers, carpets, flooring, plants, artwork), improve services (reception phone, faster mops, quick filling water dispensers, more active musicians), and boost Flo's speed (quick shoes, larger carts, faster elevators). The upgrades are reasonably priced and can usually be acquired by the 5 - 6th levels of each hotel, making the later levels significantly easier.

Another upgrade is the addition of stars to the rooms - upto a maximum of 3 stars each. Guests staying in star rooms are happier and pay star bills, besides room rents and tips. These star bills are used to refurbish the themed VIP Suite of the hotel that is reserved for special guests. Decorations include deluxe flooring, wallpapers, rugs, curtains, candlestands and chandeliers, designer beds, desks and chairs, and even a waterfall!

Click to view The Honeymoon Special @ Dinertown / The VIP Suite @ Alpine Ski Lodge / The Executive Suite @ Stark / The VIP Suite @ Tiki Palace / The Haunted Room @ Dunwich House.

The 5 hotels have 10 levels each - a perfect length for the game, building up the challenge without letting ennui set in from spending too much time at one hotel. Since every hotel starts from scratch, the game-play keeps reverting to square one, so it's akin to playing 5 small games rather than a single 50-level game. No level is exceptionally challenging, and attaining Expert rank (with large margins) is simple throughout. Judicious purchase of stars for the rooms easily produces enough star bills to complete the VIP suites by the 8th level. While this reduces difficulty, it helps keep the game moving without frustrating the gamer.

Flo can win upto 8 medals for milestones reached - completing each hotel, completing the game, achieving expert rank for all levels, and completing all VIP suites with all available embellishments.

And for those who just cannot get enough of Hotel Dash: Suite Success, there is the Endless Mode, which provides additional arcade fun once the Story Mode is over.

Four and a half cheers for this spiffy, back-to-the-basics game!

g@mrgrl rating:
game-play, VIP rooms concept, 50 levels, Flo
too easy
no bugs noted

This is an original review written by me. Please do not distribute / adapt the text and images in any way without my written consent.