Hotel Dusk Had a Lot of Potential That Got Wasted


Los Angeles, 1979. You are Kyle Hyde, an ex-cop turned salesman trying to track down a missing friend. Clues lead you to an eerie, old hotel rumored to have one very strange room – a room where wishes are granted. It’s up to you to unravel the mystery in Hotel Dusk: Room 215, a gritty new graphic adventure for Nintendo DS. Players hold their DS like a book and use the touch screen to grill characters, search for clues and solve mystifying puzzles. Players follow the plot twists and turns as they hunt for their missing friend and investigate the mysteries of Hotel Dusk.

from GameFaqs

Warning: Roasting incoming with a pinch of salt.

You can read the review the lovely Iris did of this game, here.

Hotel Dusk is made by the same people that did Trace Memory/Another and Again: Investigations. I talked briefly about how bad Again was here! This game came highly recced to me from Anna, a friend that loves Ace Attorney and puzzle games like me, and other people that enjoy VN’s/AA franchise. Tbh, if I hadn’t been this recommended I wouldn’t have given it a chance, and continued after the first hour…

I also heavily advise to use a faq, because otherwise it’s Bad Ends guaranteed. This is a good one on GameFaqs, here. Or really, just watch a walkthrough on Youtube and save yourself from a headache :3

Mysteries is what this game revolves around, what it does best, and what’s the best thing it has going for it, and the 2D sprites. The plot has layers upon layers, and though sometimes it’s predictable, it still delivers in a good way. If I could save anything from this game, it’d be it’s narration, plot, story, and how it slowly uncovers the truth that Hyde seeks. At least, one of the majors truths, though not all of them. But then if it uncovered everything there wouldn’t have been a sequel, titled Last Window.

One thing that really stood out to me was that the mysteries all felt unrelated and irrelevant to what Hyde’s searching for at face value, and though in real life we know anyone wouldn’t give a flying fig about paintings or the other tenants secrets, here it works to slowly unravel the mystery. Everyone is connected in the Hotel, we and them just don’t know it yet.

The sprites and art is beautiful, I absolutely adore the 2D artist’s work for all the Cing games, be it noir-style like on here or in full color like on Another Code.

Hyde’s personality is also really that of an asshole, he’s brusque and has absolutely no tact, why anyone would tell him anything boggles my mind. Thankfully we can choose to not be total asswipes, and in fact, being an asshole gives you bad endings haha.

Now, my roasting is incoming because I absolutely LOATHED, DETESTED, HATED, DESPISED, the gameplay, the interface, and everything that was game-y on this game.

To start with there’s a lot of walking and forth cluelessly, and slowly to boot too, trying to discover where you have to be to have conservations or trigger scenes. There’s also a lot of pixel hunting because the backgrounds look like they’re from PS1 era, the 3D is just BAD.

This game is planned around on making the gamer’s life difficult to move forward, the interface is clunky, the controls are annoying, there’s myriads of Bad Endings that you don’t expect AT ALL, which turns this game into a really frustrating experience.

Worst still, is that there are missable items which you then aren’t allowed to go back and get, including on key scenes where you’ll be STUCK and can’t complete the game anymore. Good job on making a game that harks back to PS1 era of games, you did a fantastic job on making a fossil that nobody will want to play now much less in 10 years. In fact, I couldn’t actually finish the game because I got STUCK on one of the last puzzles and it wouldn’t let me go back to get the Black Light I missed. I tried doing what some other people complaining said, that you can tilt the DS and you’ll see the number if you pay attention, but I’m playing in a 2DS and couldn’t see anything. I ended up watching the 30 minutes that was left of the game on a walkthrough, and tbh, I would have enjoyed the game more if I’d just watched a walk than playing it actually was smh.

Here’s a few ideas on how to improve the game’s fault:


Now start from scratch:

  • Let us just choose from a menu the places to visit;
  • have NO CONTROLS, a point and click is much better than this mess;
  • don’t make it change to sideways, while playing like a book was the new “in” thing, I can’t pay attention to the two screens like that;
  • feature only the puzzles that are actually worth doing for the story moving forward, and not this mess of puzzles everywhere just to make it take more time to clear the game;
  • LET ME SKIP CONVERSATIONS, or at least have better saving features where I’ll save after a convo, get a bad ending, retry AND NOT HAVE TO REPEAT CONVS AGAIN.
  • Have answers lead to various clues, instead of just leading to bad endings. There’s too many bad endings that aren’t worth ANYTHING.
  • Don’t put a dumb “recap” at the end of each chapter, when said chapter is 30-40 minutes long, I still remember what happened okay?
  • Let me jump right to the puzzles solution instead of having to do ALL THE MOTIONS, even when we press retry and have to press on everything and read everything to be allowed to do the puzzles solutions

In the end, I believe this game would’ve been so much better if it’d been a visual novel, completely scrapping the interface, gameplay and controls. It would have also made the story have more impact, and be a stronger game. So in a sense like Ace Attorney in terms of interface and controls, it would’ve been 300 times better. Sadly, like this I can’t in good faith recommend it to anyone to slog through it, I just can’t. It’s disappointing because the story is actually good and the characters too, pity it’s brought down by the rest :/

My recommendation is to go play Ace Attorney, read my reviews here; Danganronpa, read my reviews here; Touch Detective, read my review here; or Rooms, read my review here, all better mystery/puzzle games than this one.

Have you head about this game? Have you played it? If yes, did you find the sames issues I did, or did you have other issues with it? Is the sequel better than this one? Tell me all!


  1. In the time that I still played games…and that’s really been a while, I remember coming across this one, and pretty much skipping it. I’m glad I did back in the day, especially after reading this. Loved your solution for it though: Just scrap the whole classic 😂😂


    1. DHSDHI I meant scrap the whole gameplay x’D;
      It’s saddening when a good story is bogged down by the elements of the game itself. You did well in skipping, you have good instincts~!

      Liked by 1 person

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