HAUNTED HOTEL Series


by  SPECIALBIT STUDIO; ELEPHANT GAMES; BIGFISH GAMES

I want to say at the outset that these games have improved as they have progressed, culminating with Elephant Games taking over and producing the latest, really good game, HAUNTED HOTEL: ECLIPSE.

HAUNTED HOTEL

Though the later games are great this one is not.  It’s TIMED!  And though the Graphics clarity is okay, the game-play requires dexterity and speed.  Discriminates against less able players.  Deleted.

HAUNTED HOTEL – BELIEVE THE LIES

This is much better than the first game, with better quicker opening; quick excellent Tutorial; helpful thoughts at the bottom of the screen which are then stored in the Journal; and 20 HOs to find each site.  But the story is a little intrusive, rather than integrated within the game-play; the Graphics are still blurry; and the HOs are too small.  Not as good as the latest ones.  Deleted.

HAUNTED HOTEL: LONELY DREAM

Jud’s Game Rating:

Graphics                                           ****           🙂
Player participation (PP)         ****           🙂
Satisfaction Factor (SF)            ****           🙂
Frustration Factor (FF)            **               :I
Fair Play (FP)                                ***             :]
Tedium Factor (TF)                  
  Nil             😀

UNEXPECTEDLY TERRIFIC!

Explore the Haunted Hotel and experience supernatural phenomenon for yourself in Haunted Hotel: The Lonely Dream! Find Hidden Objects as you explore the different rooms of the hotel and discover spooky secrets. Collect helpful Inventory objects to help you progress through the building, and solve tricky puzzles. Each room brings you closer to the truth in Haunted Hotel: The Lonely Dream! (BigFish Sales Blurb)

This game has a really good Options which includes a Brightness control as well as the usual Music and Sound volume sliders.  There are Casual and Advanced Modes from which to choose; a Notepad bottom left of screen for all the notes you gather as you progress; Tasks and Hint to the right; a Thought Dial, and an Inventory in which you can combine Items collected.  The Cursor is tiny but very accurate, but the Hidden Objects are difficult to find, hard to see and tiny in some cases.  That, plus the lack of a Map are the only negatives, unless you also count a slight lack of directions as a problem.  These can be offset by using the Tasks or the Hint to nudge you in the right direction.

The Graphics are well designed, with great artwork, and authentic details for the architecture both interior and exterior, the fittings and fixtures of the Hotel, and the gardens and characters.  They could have been clearer in places, especially the HO sites. The story – that of finding, repairing then destroying a time machine to release people trapped in the Hotel – gradually unfolds and is well-integrated into the game-play, driving it steadily on.  There are a number of HO sites sprinkled throughout the rooms, but these are random and there to provide you with Items that you haven’t acquired from simply searching the room or corridor.  The Tasks you undertake are more important than the HOs as completing them allows you to move to the next floor/level.

Most enjoyable, with a little FF thrown in.  I highly recommend it to Crime fans and Fantasy fans alike.

HAUNTED HOTEL: CHARLES DEXTER WARD Collector’s Edition 

Jud’s Game Rating:

Graphics                                           ****           🙂
Player participation (PP)         ****           🙂
Satisfaction Factor (SF)            ****           🙂
Frustration Factor (FF)            **               :I
Fair Play (FP)                                ***             :]
Tedium Factor (TF)                  
  Nil             😀

RATHER CREEPY!

Track down your missing twin in Haunted Hotel: Charles Dexter Ward. The only trace of your missing twin is the necklace he never took off…and a swampland address. Follow the clues to an abandoned hotel and unravel a mystery of necromancy and more in this eerie hidden-object puzzle adventure classic! (BigFish Sales Blurb)

This game also has a good Options with Stretch Screen facility.  However there is still no Map which is a shame and usually adds to the FF.  The Strategy Guide (active in this case as it’s a Collector’s Edition) and Info buttons are in the top right of screen – the Info providing a list of the letters found that you need to read if you want instructions for various Tasks.  The Task button is at bottom left of screen.  The Navigation Arrow is really clear and works really well, as does general Cursor.

The Graphics are clever and colourful, imaginative, detailed, but a little heavy on atmospherics.  This means that the HO sites are a little blurry which is a shame, and you need to make sure you search around the edges as HOs are sometimes partly off-screen.  I like the way that the Zoom-in to a sparkling hotspot is a large bubble – it’s neat and allows you to still be in contact with the main location.  There are not many HO sites – this game plays like an Adventure game with the HO sites as incidental, though of course necessary for the game progress.  The Puzzles are mostly okay, but some of them are the usual unsolvable pains, but you can Skip them, eventually.  The Tasks are hands-on, good PP overall, plus you have the extra pages and notes, scattered throughout the hotel, to collect so you are kept very busy.

The Free Trial is a Demo game, so before closing it gives you a glimpse of what is to follow, flashing through the various locations so you can see the great Graphics.  However I did find when I had bought and played the Collector’s Edition, that the game really needs the Extra Game-play to complete the story.  The ending of the Standard version is so unfinished that it is unsatisfying and disappointing.  On the other hand the resolution of the Coll. Ed. is quite satisfying.

I highly recommend this game.

HAUNTED HOTEL: ECLIPSE Collector’s Edition

Jud’s Game Rating:

Graphics                                           *****         😀
Player participation (PP)         *****         😀
Satisfaction Factor (SF)            ****           🙂
Frustration Factor (FF)            **               :I
Fair Play (FP)                                ***             :]
Tedium Factor (TF)                  
  Nil             😀

ADDICTIVE!

You and your renowned partner James have been called to investigate a strange disturbance at a hotel, but the maid says the guests are all monsters. What’s happened here, and does she really mean that literally? (BigFish Sales Blurb)

As I have only played the Free Trial version so far, I think this game is a huge improvement, and I am so glad that Elephant Games have taken over.  However they still haven’t supplied a Map!  The Options is great, and includes a Gamma setting.  There are Casual/Advanced/Hardcore Modes from which to choose, and the Cursor is a tiny hand  in the HO sites, but turns to a larger one to collect Items in the various locations.  You release a Flutterfire Butterfly which you can use to light candles and torches, enter fireplaces, melt ice, and scare bats, etc when needed.  The characters are 3D CG rather Sherlock-Holmes-like, and as usual you do all the work and the other just stands around telling you what to do next and that he’ll meet you in the next room.

The Graphics are great, colourful, atmospheric, interesting, detailed, and intriguing.  They are rather blurry at times especially in the HO sites, which occur occasionally, making it harder to see the HOs.  You collect paintings of creatures and bewitched humans. plus of course collect then use various Items to open locks on chests, gates, and doors, or to release other trapped Items.  The Puzzles so far have been few and far between which is good – some games are top-heavy with Puzzles which is tiring.  The Tasks are very hands-on so the PP is high.

The story is also intriguing, becoming more engrossing as you progress.  Just before the Demo ends it becomes quite gripping, and you don’t want it to stop before you can resolve the situation.  This is a sign of a good game – where the story is so well-integrated with the game-play that you cannot do one without the other.  It is gripping, creepy, and addictive!

I highly recommend this game.

Jud House   15/10/2013

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About judsartwork

I write reviews of Adventure and Hidden Object games that are Crime, Fantasy, SciFi, Renovation, Travel, Quest and/or Mystery by genre. I have a Masters in Writing (2006) and have been writing novels, both crime and fantasy for many years; plus Haiku, verse, and prose both fictional and literary. I am also an artist of modern, Acrylic, textural and hard edge work, underwater, fantasy, expressionist, and Cosmos paintings. I use mixed media (Acrylic, Watercolour, Pastels) in textural Monoprints, finding surprises to expose within each work. Having both an analytical and creative mind has meant that I have strong powers of observation, and the persistence required to follow computer problems through till I solve them. Of course I am not always successful, but am willing to ask for a little help in order to then unlock the main problem myself. My Troubleshooting Blog, 'Problems and Solutions', was the result of my tenacity.
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