Apocalypse Hotel – The Post-Apocalyptic Hotel Simulator – The Game Design Review – The Blog

Although the title is a bit of a mouthful, Apocalypse Hotel – The Post-Apocalyptic Hotel Simulator is exactly what it says on the box. The game takes place in a world destroyed by aliens and covered in zombies.

The Story

You play a student studying a business degree so that one day you can take over your parents hotel. Unfortunately aliens decide they want your planet and release a bunch of gas that kills people and brings them back as zombies. Your character decides that the best idea would be to go back to your parents hotel and hope they are still alive.

Standing out the front
This does not look promising

With this information in mind, I felt it was safe to assume your parents and/or their death would play a big part in the story of the game, and that the intended player experience at this point would most likely be to make the player sad or something by having the player find the bodies/zombie of the characters parents and having a big dramatic scene to motivate the player into rebuilding the hotel. I was wrong.

As I walked into the hotel for the first time, a scripted event started in which the character exclaimed that they are hungry and should cook some food. After that, THEN the character decided they should explore the hotel. Surely at some point you would find your parents or something, right? wrong.

The Design

Upon searching the entire hotel and not finding anything about your parents the character exclaims. “Well, I guess they are dead. I will run the hotel in their memory”. I feel like this is suppose to motivate the player, but it doesn’t. Between having met the parents and the complete lack of emotion in the above statement, I really didn’t feel anything.

I am unsure if any real thought went into design of this game. All the dialogue I saw was along the lines of:

Player – “I’m building a hotel.”

NPC – “Why? The world has ended.”

There were enemy types that made no sense eg. Why would there be giant spiders and killer bats in a zombie apocalypse? I didn’t find any evidence of the developer trying to make the player feel a certain way, in fact it would seem all they cared about was killing zombies and fixing the hotel.

Repair rooms, starting a community
Aren’t I suppose to be looking for my parents?

The Gameplay

When it came to how the game played, I came across a few issues:

  1. There is no form of ammo counter UI. The only way to check if you had any ammo was to go into the inventory system. Naturally, this was annoying when ammo is pretty limited. As someone with programming experience, I can safely say that it is an incredibly easy thing to add. That being said, I don’t have any experience with the engine used to make this game or the code it uses (RPG Maker, which uses Ruby).
  2. In the many, many menu systems not only is the cursor never visible (again, super simple to add. Literally a line of code in C# again, not sure about Ruby) but you cant reach the lower options for some reason and considering that a large part of the game involves crafting, this is annoying but luckily you can access them with the arrow keys. I honestly don’t know what would cause this bug.
  3. The game was less than a GB to download and for some reason caused lag on a high end gaming computer in scenes that had 10+ zombies in it. From what I have gathered, Ruby is suppose to be very simple but not great performance wise, so that could be whats causing the lag.
  4. The player, and enemies, can move diagonally, the player can only shoot up, down, left and right. Again I don’t know anything about Ruby,  but my guess would be that instead of instantiating the bullet object with a force relative to the direction the player is moving, they just instantiate it with a force relative to the way the player is facing.
  5. I decided to stop playing after roughly an hour because within an hour of playing the game I got the same error twice, an error which caused the game to crash. Both times the error was caused by the character transitioning to a new scene.
My guess is there is a disposed sprite or something

The Developer and Publisher

The game was developed and published by FlynnFourGames using the RPG Maker engine and it is the third of the four games they have made all of which use RPG Maker. From the very limited information I have found, It would seem that FlynnFourGames currently consists of a single developer.

Final Comments

I would like to say that this game has quite a few issues that are super simple to fix, but as I have no experience with the engine or the language used, I can’t say that for certain. I did somewhat enjoy the follow up game “Moostone Tavern” which is basically the same concept but in the fantasy genre, and considering I really enjoy zombie games I am sure I would enjoy this game too if it didn’t crash. I also like the twist on the business simulator genre that these games have, and I am curious as to how I would improve on this idea if I were to create something similar.

Zombie fight 1
At least it looked pretty good