Aspiring hotel moguls or fans of The Sims might want to give Hotel Giant 2 a look. Developed by Nobilis and published by Southpeak Interactive, Hotel Giant 2 will let you build and manage the hotel of your dreams with a plethora of options and an intense amount of micro management. The subject matter is niche enough, but the tedium of constant management made this one tough to enjoy. I'm not a fan of The Sims either though, so if you are into games like this, your mileage may vary. Nobilis certainly gives you a lot to tinker around with anyway; let's take a closer look at Hotel Giant 2...
Bring Your Management Skills (Including Patience)
Hotel Giant 2 installs in a snap and only requires 2GB of hard drive space. System requirements are very low, requiring Windows 98 and newer and just a 1.5Ghz CPU 512MB RAM. A 5 series GeForce or a 9 series Radeon will work, so even casual PC gamers should have no trouble netting these requirements. Inside the game, there are a variety of graphical options that alter the level of eye candy and detail to help suit the game to your system and preferences. Unfortunately, the maximum supported resolution is 1280x1024.
Once you're ready to play, I suggest playing through the tutorial which is under Campaign\Learning Campaign. The Learning Campaign is well designed and takes you through the steps of hotel management. The use of animated arrows to point out buttons in the HUD (there are a lot of them) to press was helpful. You'll discover right away that there's a lot going on in Hotel Giant 2 from a management perspective, enough that you'll be steadily busy as you try to increase your share of the market.
When you're ready to take on the game itself, you have a few options, including the Campaign. Fifteen scenarios with increasingly difficult demands await you here. I won't claim to have played through them all so I can't tell you how long it will take to reach the end of the campaign. Suffice it to say that management-inclined players will have their hands full meeting the game's increasingly tougher challenges. If the campaign has you worn out or you just want a change of pace, try the Random Game option from the Main Menu. Here, you can customize a scenario for yourself including your starting city, what type of hotel structure you start in, the amount of cash you have to begin with, how much time you have, and what the end-game goals are (i.e., achieving a certain amount of the market share, having a certain level of skilled staff, etc). Of course, you don't have to select all of these settings yourself, you can simply click Randomize and jump right in.
Finally, players can view three types of ideal or finished hotels in a Sandbox mode. I thought the name was a little misleading because in reality, this is just a view only mode whereby players can wonder around a hotel doing anything but actually make changes. It's a good way to get ideas for what your hotel back in the campaign should be shooting for, but it offers little value outside of that.
Whether you're in Campaign or Random Game, you've got a whole lot of options for managing your hotel(s). Just about every single object in the game world is clickable, so there's very little in game that you can't completely change. For example, floors and walls can be changed by simply pressing D and F. You can double click on objects like tables and lamps, even arcade machines, to get a closer look at them and examine their Maintenance Cost. Objects can be added, moved, removed, and exchanged at will. If you're into customization, Hotel Giant 2 offers you a lot of leg room to work with, which is nice but for more casually inclined players it can be overwhelming.
You can also click on a hotel guest and literally follow them, examining their level of satisfaction and any complaints they have too. Other information, like how long they've stayed and what activity they're currently doing, are also shown. As I'm sure is the case in the real world, there's just about always something that can be done for someone in the hotel to help improve their experience. Whether it's a new sink for their bathroom or cable TV service for their TV, expect to stay busy tending to your customer needs.
To help you get a grip on this, you should definitely play the tutorial. It'll show you the ropes and also help you understand the numerous buttons and options you have at your finger tips. It's not that there are too many icons or buttons in the HUD of Hotel Giant 2, they just take a little getting used to, especially since some options are beneath others. That said, I'm not sure Nobilis could have really presented all of these controls in a much better way, so it works. I'd also recommend checking out the PDF manual. It's sixty-four pages packed with screenshots, tables, and details about how to play. Being that large (and that this is $20 game), it's understandable, if not environmentally responsible, that the manual wasn't published.
As I continued to play and peruse the manual, I was impressed with the amount of stuff I could potentially add to my hotel. Things like game rooms, cake shops, libraries, piano bars, jukeboxes, and so on. This is in addition to the obvious things like coffee shops, pools, restaurants, and health clubs. All told, there are over a dozen facilities, over 1500 items, and twenty-six hotel buildings across numerous international cities from LA to Paris. All the pieces are there, and the interface and presentation isn't bad, but the big question is whether or not you're up to the task of what honestly boils down to a tedious affair of constant micro-management.
In conclusion, nothing about Hotel Giant 2 is outright bad, and in fact I was impressed with the variety of customization options and the plentiful details about the business Nobilis provided. On the other, more important hand, I found it boring and hard to stay interested in for anything more than brief spurts of play. These types of games rely on getting a player hooked and coming back for more, and it's not an easy formula to achieve. It's not that Hotel Giant 2 doesn't, or can't do that, but it was not able to with me.
To the summary...