Jane's Hotel
Reviewed by Minna Kim Mazza
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2010-07-27 iPhone Time Management E (Everyone) G5 Entertainment

One of the newer genres of puzzle game nowadays is what they like to call "Time Management," which involves micromanaging different tasks with different units in order to achieve a goal. Many iPhone app makers take this genre and produce a lot of top-notch game experiences for the mobile platform. I wasn't terribly impressed by Jane's Hotel, but mostly for reasons that don't directly involve game play.

As much as I will admit that I played Jane's Hotel all the way through to the end, becoming a master hotelier of course, it didn't feel like it brought anything that new and exciting to the genre. That said, it was entertaining enough to stick with it.

If you have played Diner Dash, this is pretty much a clone of that concept, except with the backdrop of being a hotel owner rather than a diner owner. Jane is trying to succeed at running her own hotel, and as each level progresses, you're able to purchase more improvements to help satisfy the hotel guests. You perform tasks and chores for your guests, and collect tips when they leave. The happier they are, the larger the tip. If they become too angry because their services aren't fulfilled, they leave without paying!

One interesting aspect of the game was the fact that in the later levels with higher rated hotels, your viewable playing area is expanded so that you have to actually use your finger to swipe back and forth on the screen to view the whole area. So some of your guests in the edge rooms won't be seen unless you scroll to them. It's probably the only thing that I noticed that set it apart from other similar games I've played (so far, anyway).

With the amount of craptastic apps that are out there on the iTunes store, it's not necessarily a big surprise that apps are released with the feeling that they are unfinished. That is the overall feeling I got from Jane's Hotel. There were numerous spelling errors in the game text - not enough to be intrusive, but enough to be noticeable.

Some of the character voices seemed to not fit, or didn't have enough of a variety to differentiate between them. Speaking of which, there was no information in the help files or tutorial about the different types of characters you serve in your hotel. Some of them were pretty distinctive and I could guess what they would be like as guests (business woman, old dude with Hawaiian shirt, etc.) but then there were a few that baffled me (guy dressed in an all-white suit with one of those wispy mustaches). There didn't seem to be any information about chaining actions as well, and I'd get "Extraordinary!" messages popping up every now and then, but I wasn't sure exactly what I had done to deserve it.

There are items that you buy to upgrade your hotel, but the choices feel very linear, such that you don't really have a lot of choice as to the next item you buy. There's a requirement to how many points you can buy for items, so there's usually only one item you can buy at a time, some of which don't really do much of anything, like new wall sconces? Very hard to see a cause and effect there.

I also felt that the graphics could have been a little more refined. It seemed very pixelated, which doesn't feel like it takes advantage of the iPhone's graphic capabilities. The written text was ugly and blocky. It felt like an 8-bit game but with slightly higher resolution. The music is seriously annoying and repetitive, plus the voice cues don't really help with anything since as I said before, some of the voices didn't really match the character.

However, past these nitpicky things, I guess I liked it enough to play it all the way through. I didn't feel very challenged though, so I wouldn't feel that you are getting something that's worth a huge investment of time.

Special thanks to Michael Meyers PR for a copy of this game for review.