Anyone who’s seen hit British comedy series Fawlty Towers will know that running a hotel is anything but easy. Of course, having an accident-prone manager at the helm, supported by a cast of clueless misfits is hardly the recipe for success. So you’ll no doubt be pleased to know that in the management game Jane’s Hotel – in which you must transform a bedsit into the plushest hotel in town – the only person responsible for success and failure is your good self. Phew!
Similar in format to the myriad restaurant management offerings on the market such as the Diner Dash series and Delicious 2 Deluxe, Jane’s Hotel sees you running frantically around your hotel catering to the every whim of your clientele.
The basic premise is to earn as much money and gain as many popularity points as you can within a set time limit. After you’ve handed them their keys, you must wait for your customers to start making demands, such as having coffee and newspapers delivered to their rooms or having the TV switched on for them in the main lobby, where all of the game’s action takes place (sadly you never get to venture into the rooms). These customer requests are represented by basic icons that appear in thought bubbles above their heads or next to their doors.
Once a guest has made their request, you must then ensure that you deal with it as quickly as possible. The more quickly you respond, the more reputation points and money you’ll earn. However, keep them waiting too long and they’ll be none too impressed and may even storm out if you really drop the ball.
As you earn more money and move into ever larger and more roomy establishments, you’ll unlock a collection of upgrades that will make your customers’ stay all the more comfortable. You can kit out your hotel with a collection of customer-friendly items, including televisions, coffee making facilities, phones and tables and chairs. However, while this will make your hotel more popular, it’ll also add extra strain on you, as customers begin to make increasingly diverse demands that’ll have you running around without respite.
Thankfully you can carry more than one of the same item at once, which does relieve some of the pressure, while a cleaning lady can be called upon to vacuum rooms and water the flowers – which visibly wilt if neglected. Thankfully, the frenetic pace is balanced out by the ability to stack up commands, while some excellent in-game hints and tips mean that you’ll never feel lost.
Sadly, Jane’s Hotel falls down on three rather major points. First off is the lack of player modes, with only a story-driven campaign to occupy your time, resulting in a lack of longevity. Secondly, customers look incredibly samey and are bereft of character. The final point of contention is the writing, which is so atrocious that sentences such as, “Some of the customers can ask you to change the bed right away after their coming,” are often the norm rather than the exception. It’s this lack of attention of detail (especially given the game’s plot-driven nature) that tarnishes the product with a hint of amateurism that belies its otherwise top-notch presentation.
Entertaining and accessible, Jane’s Hotel is certainly an accomplished and entertaining game, but it’s hard to ignore the lack of gameplay variety and shoddy text. However, it will provide you with a good few hours of fun and as an alternative to culinary management games, it’s certainly worth checking in to, if for nothing more than a fun filled afternoon.