STAFF REVIEW of Hotel Renovator (Xbox Series X)

Monday, March 25, 2024.
by Heather Webster

Hotel Renovator Box art Do you think you have what it takes to wow, dazzle, and impress the various and vast guests and visitors with your interior design skills to get the 5-star rating you're after, or will you tank and have to rethink things? Well now is your chance to find out! Hotel Renovator is a simulation game where your imagination is put to the test with the tools and choices you've been given, along with the layout specifications and special requests from the guest. So find out if you have what it takes to become an owner and operator of what could become a 5-star Hotel establishment.

Hotel Renovator Five Star Edition comes with five additional furniture packs to help you on your renovation adventure. Those packs are steampunk, gym, palace, futuristic, and kawaii, giving you a much more broad selection of over 2000 choices of design other than just the basic. These extra items is what I found added to the enjoyment of the design process, to help come up with some pretty cool and interesting rooms that make me want to stay in my rooms.

The whole narrative of Hotel Renovator has a mild amount of interest as you go through, but I do end up enjoying the process of the actual renovation more than the storyline. Anyway, as it goes, the story is that you have a family member who passed away and you inherit a hotel that is run down, broken, and busted, and now it's your job to bring it back to some form of glory. Problem is that there is garbage everywhere, broken furniture, and everything looks as though it could be hundreds of years old.

Maintain the cleanliness and complete challenges that arrive during the game to gain that coveted 5-star rating so lots of people want to come to your hotel. Some of the challenges can be as easy as finding someone's missing wallet, to custom designing a room for a vampire who in the end just wants to sleep in a crate in your basement, whether he likes your design or not.

Other fun challenges come up as well such as helping a wildlife enthusiast catch his iguana that is running around the hotel and build some shelves in the room he is staying in for his pet to run around on. All of these kinds of things happen while you need to continue to set up your hotel for the guests. You will also get packages sent to you from unknown senders that give you clues and hints as to the history of your family and the hotel. This is all part of the story mode, but there is also a sandbox mode that lets you focus on just redesigning the hotel in whatever way you see fit!

For you to learn how to play the game, the tutorial is well laid out and plays just like a regular level so you know exactly what to expect. This is where you'll learn how to demolish and clean. I suggest doing full demolition before placing anything so that you get to see the blank slate and plan it out before you place things and waste funds, because just like in real life, the resale value is never what you paid. Throughout the game you will also find literal easter eggs all over the hotel, and there are golden easter eggs that give you surprise rewards when you find them.

The item selection menu is as intuitive as it could be because it's a scroll menu, limiting your ability to see your full options. I would have loved it more if they moved the items menu to the Tablet so that I could scroll through that like a catalog instead of a scroller. I do enjoy the amount of options available to customize the items you choose in your renovation though. You can select your item of furniture and then you can customize the material used to make it, however, I do not like that the options are based on the look and don't tell you what that actual option is. Am I using teak, marble, or maybe pine? What is it? I do like to know this kind of information even though it's just a game.

A huge tip for you that I found to be super frustrating and made me almost want to give up completely, which would have brought this review to a very short end, is there is no autosave feature. That means if you forget to save right after you have put a huge amount of work into a space, you will lose all of it, so make sure to save every time. This brings me back to when I was learning to use a computer back in the day when you could write forever, something happens, and I hadn't saved, having to start from scratch all over again.

As your hotel continues to improve, grow, and become more popular (getting higher ratings), you unlock more options to design your spaces with. You begin with 1-star items to get you started, and as you go along and improve, your item ratings also increase to help you build a more impressive design, meaning you can go back to your first spaces and upgrade them to get higher ratings from your guests.

The NPCs in the game are rather amusing to watch as they check out the spaces you create and book. There seem to be no barriers for them they will walk into your space and check out each of your design elements, even if that means standing in the middle of the bed in the room they are looking at. I even found myself in the game standing in the wardrobe while looking at a wall design I just installed, adding a bit of humor to the game. I had a wedding group booking at one point and when all the guests gathered in the restaurant, they just circled each other and it looked like they were doing some ritualistic circle dance.

There is no multiplayer option, however, there is an online community where you can share your designs and get inspiration from. The gameplay is really easy to learn and understand as you go through the campaign, and as you go along, your tools become easier to use as well. You eventually get better tools like a vacuum instead of a broom and a sledgehammer instead of a crowbar, making larger areas of change happen instead of just small squares at a time.

The graphics were designed using Unreal Engine 4 which makes this game appealing to the eye, and in my opinion, is really enjoyable to see the designs you've created. A downside however is kind of like the "What color is this dress? Blue or Gold" thing that was going around the internet a couple years ago, because the depiction of light in the game doesn't necessarily portray an accurate account of what your color choice will look like. The soundtrack was very pleasant compared to some of the other renovation games I've played in the past. The music that plays is based on the challenge you are doing, and I found to fit very well. I didn't even have the urge to mute the game and listen to my own playlist.

Overall, I have found Hotel Renovator - Five Star Edition to be quite enjoyable and easy to get into despite the things I wish were improved, like the items menu and the NPCs. So if you're into building designs, operating a hotel, and pleasing random guests, all while learning about your character's family and hotel history, then I would say this is a great game for you to spend hours on.

**Hotel Renovator - Five Star Edition was provided by the publisher and reviewed on an Xbox Series S**

Please include an autosave.

Overall: 8.5 / 10
Gameplay: 8.0 / 10
Visuals: 8.5 / 10
Sound: 8.0 / 10


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