It was almost a shame when Bad Hotel started making sense, really. Sometimes, it’s enough that a game just tells you it’s a game: that gives you the license you need to spend time tapping away at it, enjoying the sights and revelling in the sounds. Bad Hotel has creamy, pastelly, Miami cocktail colours, art deco shapes, and a soundtrack of weird nightmare throbs and pulses. I was very happy to just move things about on the screen and watch it all evolve.
But slowly, I started to realise that it’s actually a bizarre kind of tower defence game, and that’s turned out to be alright, too. The object in Bad Hotel is to protect the core room of your rambling pile by sticking other rooms to it. Some of these have turrets. Some of these are just an additional layer or armour, as far as I can tell. At the moment, after about twenty or thirty minutes of messing around, I’ve unlocked a standard cannon, a spiky mine thing, and a healing unit. It’s starting to get quite tactical.
I’m facing off against pigeons, UFOs, a giant boss cloud that popped up on one level, and various other things that I can’t really see because my eyes aren’t quite good enough. The hotel metaphor doesn’t really make a great deal of sense, but that just makes it all the more charming. It also allows Lucky Frame, the developer, to call the game Bad Hotel, which is one of the best iOS game titles I’ve heard in ages: mysterious, inviting and slightly sinister. Best of all, there’s the musical element, which is slightly sinister too. Each room you lay down adds another beat to the game’s evolving soundtrack and you’re soon fighting off intruders while building a weird sonic landscape that ensures you’re constantly on edge.
Bad Hotel, then: 69p on iTunes right now. I really like this one, and it’s got a lovely icon too. We should really do a piece on the best app icons at some point.