Move over, Paris Hilton – in Jane’s Hotel: Family Hero, you’re an heiress who actually works hard at her family business! Jane vows to stop the foreclosure of four hotels by borrowing money from the bank and then working at each one until enough cash is collected to help pull her family through. Through this ambitious venture you’ll work at a beachfront resort in the Canary Islands, a castle in England, a fancy French inn and a traditional Japanese hotel.
While not perfect, this enjoyable sequel improves nicely on the original time management game. If you’re ready to check into your room, dear reader, here’s what you need to know about Jane’s Hotel: Family Hero.
Beginning in the Canary Islands, hotel patrons arrive at the hotel and greet you at the main desk. After you give them keys to the room they settle into one of the four rooms and begin to ask for some amenities such as fancy drinks, souvenirs, telephone use or a newspaper. As the manager, you will first click on the appropriate amenity, such as an espresso maker, and then on correct door that pops up with the request – as indicated by a pop-up speech bubble of sorts. There are a wide variety of guests, each with its own animation and voice, but they don’t seem to act any different from one another (such as the teenager with headphones being more impatient than the cane-using senior).
Unlike the original game, Jane now has two handy assistants who will help fulfill a guest’s needs. For example, you will likely see a picture of a small vacuum cleaner in the speech bubble, meaning the guest would like their room cleaned. By clicking on the maid button and the room she needs to tidy up, off she goes until the task is completed; you can chain more than one room together for bonus points, therefore you simply need to click on multiple rooms (with vacuum cleaner icons) in succession and the maid will go from one to the next.
The maid helps with other jobs as you begin to advance through the hotels, such as watering plants, bringing clean sheets to a room, dry cleaning services, and more. The other assistant is a porter who is great for odd jobs such as fixing broken-down machines, such as the espresso machine that always seems to go on the fritz. As with the maid, the porter will pick up other duties the more you advance throughout the game’s 50 levels.
After you make your daily cash quota and move onto the next day, dozens of upgrades can be purchased to increase the skills of the three workers (manager, maid and porter) such as faster shoes for Jane, a better vacuum cleaner (the “Turbo 4000”) for the maid or a digital camera for the porter. Furniture that’s relevant to the hotel can also be purchased to spice up the place, including nice paintings for the French hotel, a medieval knight statue for the English castle or floral trimmings for the resort in the Canary Islands. You can also buy places for guests to lounge in the lobby, which increases the number of guests you can handle at once, and therefore making you more cash at the end of each day.
One issue, however, is you can’t save your cash for a more expensive luxury because your money doesn’t carry over between levels. For instance, say there’s a $400 crystal chandelier you want but you only have $200 left after paying for staff upgrades (which are arguably more important). Problem is, that $200 doesn’t carry over because you start each day with $0. Other minor niggles include graphics that are average compared to today’s casual games and only one game mode to play.
Shortcomings aside, Jane’s Hotel: Family Hero is an enjoyable hotel management game that is sure to provide many hours of increasingly challenging fun. Multi-taskers especially will relish in the furious mouse-clicking required to juggle all the guests’ requests at once. We enjoyed our stay here, and we hope you will too!