You are Kyle Hyde, 33 years old. Former cop turned door-to-door salesman, you’re in search of your friend Brian Bradley. Three years ago, he turned on you while you were both on the force and gave special information to the other side. He hasn’t been seen since. Your jobs leads you to a run down joint called Hotel Dusk, where Room 215 has a mysterious past, as do all the guests. Will you find your friend, or will you turn up with absolutely no lead?Hotel Dusk: Room 215 is, at it’s core, a point and click adventure game. As Kyle Hyde, you explore the hotel and learn of the mysteries it and its guests hold. There are a few quirks that make this title shine, while it also has certain drawbacks.One of the many interesting features of this game is the way it’s played. For one, you hold the DS sideways, like a book or a journal. On the top screen, you see a 3D view of your surroundings, while on the touch screen there’s a map of the hotel with an arrow on it. The arrow represents Kyle and the direction he’s facing. You press the area on the touch screen that you’d like to go to and Kyle will move there. If you hold it, he’ll continue to walk in that direction. If you change the direction of the stylus, Kyle will do the same. It feels a bit awkward at first, but it becomes comfortable within 15-20 minutes.As you walk around Hotel Dusk, you’ll encounter a number of people to interact with. If they’re essential to your goal at the time, then you’ll be drawn into a conversation with them. If not, then they’ll just say a sentence or two and get on with their lives. You’ll also run into many puzzles and interactive objects throughout your stay. The puzzles are good, for the most part. There aren’t many of them throughout the game, and when you finish one they usually don’t feel all that satisfying. Many of them are quite fun, though and require you to think deeply and inventively. You’ll be surprised at how many things you’ll have to do with your DS that you wouldn’t think would be essential to the game play, but turn out to fit perfectly once you figure it out.You’ll also get a memo pad in your inventory that you carry around with you. You can scribble in it and take notes on things you might think will be important in the future. Along with the memo pad, you’ll collect other varied items that are essential to the plot and the puzzles.The main game play aspect is in the dialogue between you and the other characters. There is a massive amount of text in this game, more than most 30-hour RPGs. This may turn people away, but it is actually the strong point of the game. The “boss battles” of this game come in the form of intense conversation between Kyle and the character that is mainly involved with that part of the story. As you progress through the dialogue, you’ll be required to ask and answer questions by choosing from selections on the touch screen. Say the wrong thing, and it’s game over; choose correctly, and you’ll advance.The story and the characters are, quite honestly, phenomenally written. The plot is deep and involving, and the believable characters support it wonderfully. You’ll most likely want to keep reading just to find out the smallest details about something. Overall, the story is intriguing and suspenseful and, depending on what ending you get, you’ll have a very satisfied feeling. Chances are, you’ll probably play it again to see what you can do differently. Adding to the replay value are a couple side quests that let you get a few extra items and cut scenes.The art direction of Hotel Dusk is amazing. The environments are in 3D, with full color, while all the characters are in black and white and appear to be sketched in pencil. This adds a nice contrast to the game and really helps add to the detective-like feel.The sound is good overall. There aren’t that many tracks in the game, but what’s there really fits with the feel of the environment and just the game in general. Whenever you solve a puzzle, there’s a nice jingle that chimes briefly, which may or may not remind you of The Legend of Zelda.Although the game may take you up to 20 hours, it’ll probably turn out longer because of having to start again after a game over screen, which is pretty lengthy for a handheld point-and-click game. If you’re a fan of puzzle solving, an amazing story, or deep characters, then you’ll probably be pleased with Hotel Dusk: Room 215.
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