An excellent case for not porting every PC or iOS game to Minis.
Action management games are as old as Tapper, so it’s no surprise that one has finally made its way to the Playstation Minis platform. Unfortunately, we couldn’t have gotten a worse one: an otherwise mediocre game hampered by a piss-poor adaptation to d-pad and button controls. Jane’s Hotel was originally developed for the PC and has also been ported to iOS; in bringing it to Minis, the developers managed to make something that functioned without really making something that worked. It’s a key distinction and, sadly, not the only problem with Jane’s Hotel.
The game reminds me very much of Diner Dash; an entrepreneurial-minded woman builds her business from humble origins to fame and fortune by serving customers. Guests advise the player of what they want (in convenient symbol form) and the player directs Jane to fulfill that request. The point of this style of game is effective time management and multitasking. It can be fun with the right interface, which is not what one finds in Jane’s Hotel. I fought the controls more than I had ought to. It’s clear that this game was originally designed as a point-and-click affair; the Minis version requires one to scroll through all the available selections on the screen with the d-pad, often requiring a dozen button presses to select objects that are right next to each other. A bug sometimes presents itself on certain levels wherein customers will request a newspaper but selecting the newspaper becomes impossible, resulting in lost points and usually failure of that level. The bug appeared at random but it did crop up on both the PS3 and the PSP.
The graphics are passable, if a bit small on a PSP screen. There are some annoying overlaps in icons that result in some elements being obscured, such as the timers for customer requests being hidden behind the icon of the thing they’ve requested. Some of the later levels are larger than the screen, but in these stages the game actually restricts the view further with large yellow bars along the edges. There’s no reason for them to be there, and yet, there they are. The whole affair looks very grainy, as if the original assets were smaller and resized in Photoshop for the Minis version. The sound effect suit the game, but get ready for the same forgettable music in every level.
The one thing that really stuck out at me were the lengthy load times. The same assets are re-used for ten levels at a time, so it struck me as odd that each level took so long to load. The game itself takes up to a minute to load the main menu, which then suffers input lag for a few seconds more. The whole affair smacks of a lazy port.
Whatever you do, don’t book your next vacation at Jane’s Hotel; they haven’t washed the sheets and you won’t get your newspaper.
Please note that this trailer is for the iOS version of the game.
For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation Portable version of the game.
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