A man with a past he wishes he could forget…A room with secrets creeping out from every corner…and a girl who wakes from a coma walks towards a limitless future…Long nights that blend into even longer days for a former detective turned door to door salesman.
When a routine job leads him to an out of the way hotel, Kyle Hyde is dragged into a long since buried secret that threatens to bring past sins into the present. He must weed out the lies and uncover a truth that certain people want to keep buried.
Hotel Dusk: Room 215 released in Japan as Wish Room: Angel’s Memory is a 2007 Nintendo DS single-player adventure visual novel developed by the creators of Another Code: Two Memories (aka Trace Memories in NA) and now defunct company, Cing. It was released as part of the Touch Generation of DS games, which were geared towards attracting non traditional gamers. Unlike typical DS and 3DS games, Hotel Dusk is played by holding the DS system sideways like a book.
Three years prior to the game, Kyle Hyde was hard-boiled New York City detective on the trail of the international crime syndicate, Nile. While doing some undercover work on the case his partner, Brian Bradley turned dirty informing on his partner and the police force they worked for. After receiving an anonymous tip about the double cross, Hyde confronts Bradley on the docks near the Hudson River. Shots are fired and an injured Bradley falls into the water never to be heard from again.
Fast forward to 1979, Hyde, now a door to door salesman for Red Crown, makes his way to a lone motel just outside of Los Angeles. Since that fateful day on the docks, he has been using his sales job to wander from place to place in search of his missing ex-partner. His trail of breadcrumbs has lead him to the dusty inn, Hotel Dusk, a place with dark secrets of his own. Follow along with Hyde as he uncovers the truth behind Hotel Dusk’s room 215, a room rumored to grant wishes. But, Hyde gets more than he bargained for when secrets from past and present collide in an unexpected way. Perhaps the secrets of Hotel Dusk and the answers Hyde is searching for are one in the same.
Main & Recurring
Kyle Hyde is a former New York City detective and door to door salesman for Red Crown. He left the force after shooting his partner Brian Bradley after a confrontation on the docks of the Hudson River. He’s a terrible salesman with an even worse disposition, which often gets him in trouble with his boss, Ed Vincent. He is still looking for his partner and uses his current job to search for clues to his whereabouts.
Ed Vincent is the owner of Red Crown and Hyde’s boss. He and Hyde’s father worked together years on the police force, and has kept an eye on Hyde since his father’s untimely death. He has Hyde find lost items upon request in addition to his regular salesman duties. Because of his police officer past, he has a wide information network, which he uses to help Hyde in his search for his missing partner.
Rachel is Ed’s secretary and the main go between for Hyde and Red Crown. She and Hyde are on very good terms and she is always willing to help him out. She and Hyde share some obvious flirting throughout the game, from time to time she’ll call him “Handsome”. Despite their closeness, she knows little about Hyde’s past, she respects his privacy never once asks him to divulge anything to her.
Brian Bradley is an Ex-cop and former partner of Kyle Hyde. He went rouge, joining forces with crime syndicate, Nile. He was shot by his partner, Hyde during a confrontation on the dock, he hasn’t been seen since. Hyde still believes he is alive and continues to search for him, his search brings him to Hotel Dusk. Does Bradley have some connection to the run down hotel? Or is Hyde chasing ghosts?
Hotel Dusk Staff & Guests
Dunning Smith is the owner of Hotel Dusk. He’s a gruff middle aged man with an almost permanent frown. He is the keeper of secrets, holding those concerning himself and the hotel under lock and key. He is the most tight lipped person in the hotel , easily dismissing Hyde’s prying and probing. He is usually found in his private rooms watching sports, neglecting the front desk.
Louis DeNonno is a third rate pickpocket and petty thief from New York. He and Hyde would come into contact from time to time, when Hyde would bust him for his criminal activities. He now works as a bellhop at Hotel Dusk and is Hyde’s main source of information within the hotel. He is an easy going and neglectful guy and extremely chatty to the point that he annoys others around him.
Mila is a mysterious and beautiful young girl that Hyde sees on the side of the road as he drives toward Hotel Dusk. She eventually catches a ride with another guest, Jeff Angel. Once at the hotel she is put under the care of the hotel’s maid Rosa Fox. She is also tied to the secrets of the hotel and may be the key to discovering Bradley’s whereabouts.
The gameplay is typical of a visual novel, the player controls Kyle Hyde as he moves around Hotel Dusk as he searches for clues and interacts with other characters.The player uses the touch screen to move Hyde from place to place. The touch screen aspect of the DS is heavily used in this game, from basic navigation to puzzle solving. As I mentioned earlier the DS is held at a 90 degree angle, to give the player the feeling that they are reading an interactive novel. The DS is held sideways like a book allowing the player to decide which side the touch screen is on based on their dominant hand.
A majority of the gameplay requires the player to interact with hotel patrons and staff in order to find out information. The player can have Hyde show inventory items to other characters or ask them questions. The player must gauge the other characters reactions and ask the right questions in the correct order to acquire the information he needs. If done incorrectly the character in question will get upset and/or refuse to answer, resulting in a game over. From time to time the player will need to solve various puzzles that utilize many of the features of the Nintendo DS system. These puzzles range from fairly easy to hard, and while a majority of them utilize the touch screen, the microphone and closing the DS are used as well. The final feature of the game is an interactive journal, where the player can write notes for themselves.
You can’t talk about Hotel Dusk: Room 215 without acknowledging the art. The game utilizes 3D full color backgrounds, but what really makes it unique are the hand drawn black and white character sprites. The art works well with the visual novel aspect of the game, giving the player the sense that the characters were plucked straight from the pages of a crime noir comic. It reminds me of the music video for a-ha’s Take on Me, and I love it. The art also works well with the 1979 setting and adds a raw, gritty feeling to the game, especially the use of light and shadows within the sprites. It is definitely one of the best aspects of the game.
The characters in the game are unique and likable, it’s easy to get invested in their individual stories. At times I found myself growing attached to them. Each character has their own history which adds to the overall development of the story. Every story is complete, and from what I recall, there are no lose ends at the conclusion of the game. Despite Hyde’s story being the main focus of the game, every character is given a fitting and realistic conclusion. There is no grand character developing moment in the game, but even so the characters seem somehow changed by their experiences and it gives the overall plot a natural feel.
I will admit that at times the game can get a bit wordy, so if you aren’t a fan of reading, Hotel Dusk isn’t the game for you. This game is extremely dialogue heavy and when coupled with the slow pacing, can make the initial gameplay seem long and drawn out. But, once you get used to it the game is very enjoyable, the mystery is well done and the puzzles help engage the reader, and act as checkpoints within the story. This game does a good job of utilizing most, if not all of the DS’s features from the touch screen to the microphone to actually having to close and open the DS. Overall Hotel Dusk: Room 215 is a solid game and well worth the playthrough for fans of visual novels, hard-boiled detectives, and good old fashion mystery!
4.5 Room Keys out of 5