Game Reviews

Hot Springs Story

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Hot Springs Story

Last year, Game Dev Story gave iPhone and Android users their first real taste of the management sim genre. The addictive gameplay and unusual setting helped it gain the popularity it deserved, and before long Kairosoft set to work on another management sim.

Imagine our surprise when that turned out to be Hot Springs Story, which puts you in charge of a start-up Japanese spa resort.

Hot springs aren’t as big a deal here as they are in the east, so a disconnect with a western audience might be expected. But that would be a shame, since Hot Springs Story is no less compelling than its predecessor.

Cause a scene

The resort runs similarly to the old Theme Park of yore. The interface hasn’t changed too drastically since Game Dev Story and the visuals are framed in the familiar colourful isometric view, filled with cutesy sprites.

Visitors check in to rooms and wander around using the spa’s springs, bars, arcades, and other facilities. For each facility used they will spend a certain amount of money.

When you have dozens of guests pottering about at once your cash ticks ups quickly, granting that feeling of brief satisfaction that Kairosoft does so well.

How well you do depends on the popularity of your facilities and on how pretty the resort looks. By placing scenery such as bamboo and maple trees near your springs and other outlets you can boost their scenery score.

You begin with a small space in which to build a couple of rocky springs, attracting a few businessmen and students. But eventually your resort will become a sprawl of pools, massage parlours and boutiques visited by comedians, pastry chefs, tea makers. It's as hectic as it is involving.

Score

Special calendar events take place to keep you on your toes, much in the same way the game awards work in Game Dev Story.

For instance, every six months sees the release of a guide book which ranks your spa. A high enough score grants you a wad of prize money.

As the game goes on you can apply to various guidebooks to write reviews. Each focuses on a different aspect of your resort and scores you in a more granular way than the general guide, but with a better cash prize as a result.

There are other calendar events to mark your progress. Golden Week will herald an influx of visitors, filling up any spare rooms quickly and possibly forcing you to build more at short notice.

Trying to think of a pun but nothing Springs to mind

Hot Springs Story hasn’t become the standard bearer for Kairosoft mind as it lacks the humour and personality of Game Dev Story.

The addictive nature of the game remains thanks to a good application of the management formula, but the subject matter isn’t as interesting. It's also sometimes difficult to tell how to proceed to the next step or unlock new facilities.

However, the game's lifespan and abundant content more than make up for these flaws. Hot Springs Story is a game with a pleasantly surprising warmth and depth, and well worth diving into.

Hot Springs Story

It may not quite hit the high bar set by its predecessor, but Hot Springs Story is just as compelling. A management sequel that is simultaneously fresh and familiar
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