Dev Talk: Monster Hotel (PlayStation Mobile)
Dev Talk is where developers speak directly to our readers about their new games and apps. We hope you find their unique perspective helpful in making your PSN purchases.
- – Written by Luke, XMPT Games
XMPT Games is a small, five-person indie development studio based in Southampton, England. We’ve been together as a company for less than a year, and are best known for our PSM release, Penguin Party. We all work in full-time jobs, as well as running the company, so being efficient with our time is very important. In order to practice this skill, we often participate in game jams. In case you haven’t come across this concept before, a game jam is an event in which small teams of developers aim to create a full game within a particularly short period of time; usually over the course of one or two days. Most jams give participants some form of topic which their game must be based around. Having just finished our first map pack for Penguin Party, we thought that this would be the ideal time for us to organize our own internal game jam.
Our aim was to create a game that was high enough quality to release on PlayStation Mobile within the space of forty-eight hours. As an additional challenge, we also put out a request on our Facebook page for people to suggest topics around which we could base our game. We ended up with about fifty different responses, and PSN Stores’ own Chris Kuspis even chipped in! The next day, we threw all of the suggestions in to a hat and picked one out at random. The winner was “Harmony”.
After discussing a whole bunch of ideas, we eventually settled on the concept for “Monster Hotel”. The player would own and run their own hotel. It would be their responsibility to ensure that everything stayed harmonious, by keeping all of the guests happy. Our core inspiration for the new game came from the dystopian document thriller, Papers Please. The idea that players are put under time pressure, whilst trying to balance an ever-growing set of requirements, really appealed to us. However, we were all too aware that our previous titles had always been turn-based. Therefore, we wanted to ensure that this one was far more frantic and fast-paced than anything that we had created before.
When the dust had settled, we were left with a completed version of Monster Hotel. It is a frenetic game, in which players must drag and drop the monsters in their hotel, using the touchscreen, so as to place them in rooms which match their various wants and needs. Each of the different monsters has a variety of personalized requirements. These range from wanting to be in a bedroom with blue walls, to wishing that they could go to the bar but still avoid another monster. Every so often, a monster will change what they want and the player will have to move them around. As the number of monsters in the hotel grows, it becomes more and more difficult to keep everyone happy. Eventually, players will have to choose which monster to temporarily upset, in order to benefit the harmony of the overall hotel. If you can survive long enough to reach a high score, you can unlock larger hotels and new unique rooms. New monsters may even start appearing!
We have just put the finishing touches on Monster Hotel and it should be hitting the PSM store within the next few weeks. The price is not completely within our control, but we are intending to sell it at less than $1.50. You can also find more details about Monster Hotel on our blog and Facebook page (www.xmptgames.co.uk and www.facebook.com/XMPTGames), so please come visit us and get in touch if you’re interested in this or any of the other projects that we’re working on!