Hotel Renovator Review – Check in, But Never Leave

Hotel Renovator Review

Looking around, I see dozens of household chores I should be doing. It’s nearly spring, after all. The problem is that dusting, mopping, and cleaning involve effort. So instead, I’m exercising my index finger and renovating a fleabag hotel into high-end lodging in Hotel Renovator. Same feeling of satisfaction, much less real-life sweat and dirt.

Familiar Patterns

Hotel Renovator is squarely in the building sim genre, subsection: makeovers. You’re not building a hotel, just remodeling one and clearing away decades of garbage, vermin, and decrepit furniture. Every room starts with a pile of junk and ends with a gleaming, stylish, and appealing space. If you’ve played House Flipper, you have the idea.

Hotel Renovator has two modes: campaign and sandbox. I’ll admit it, unless I’m reviewing a game, I usually head straight to the sandbox. I’ve probably sunk hundreds of hours into Planet Coaster, but only a fraction of time in its scripted challenges. In Hotel Renovator’s campaign, you inherit a hotel from your uncle that’s so bad, it can only dream of being a slum-level fleabag. It’s also bleeding money, and the only thing between it and a demolition ball is you.

So, room by room, you begin the laborious process of turning into a five-star palace. You have goals for each room and often, you need to craft the space for a particular guest. For example, you might have a patron with particularly pallid skin and an aversion to sunlight. Your goals, then, are designing a room with lots of candles, blackout curtains, and lots of red and black in the color scheme. Hotel Renovator’s campaign is not just about doing makeovers, however. You need a steady and increasing cash flow, you need to hire and maintain staff and add new features that will bring in lodgers. The old hotel has a lot of dirty nooks and crannies, too, and sometimes they hide valuables, secret items, and helpful rewards. There is a steady stream of objectives. Successful completion unlocks new items for your rooms.

Dopamine Clicks

If you enjoy playing sim and building games for the campaign and challenges, you’ll find that Hotel Renovator has a decent, if unremarkable, one. If nothing else, it teaches you the basics of demolition, cleaning, and redecorating. Other players will head right over to the sandbox, which can be modified with some self-selected restrictions, if that’s your thing.

For me, I like to just play with unlimited cash and time, going room by room and enjoying the addictive process of transforming junk into jewels. Every room absolutely reeks with years of neglect and there’s rarely anything worth saving. Your first step, then, is to demolish everything: walls, floor and ceiling, all furniture and fixtures. Then, you sweep up the trash. At the end, you have a blank canvas, and hundreds of items to decorate with. You can create the hotel room of your dreams or the weirdest suite you can imagine. In the end, you either think: yeah, I’d stay there, or maybe who the hell is that room for?

Be warned, though, it isn’t a fast process. In part due to the controls, it takes a very long time to clean and redecorate. It takes well over an hour to do even a simple set of rooms. Now, to be fair, the slow and methodical process of games like Hotel Renovator is part of the charm. Just be prepared for a leisurely pace.

Can You Send Up the Cleaning Staff? We Have a Mess

Graphically, Hotel Renovator is pretty in line with other games in the genre. The decorative items, furniture, and coverings look pretty good, though certainly not amazing, but the game’s character models are really awful. At the end of a room’s renovation, however, you can get a very satisfying result that certainly looks like a presentable and believable space. If you want to go for garish, you can do that, too.

There’s some frustration with the game’s camera and controls. The camera hates small spaces, door passages, and looking up at the ceiling. The process of highlighting tiles is made very difficult because the light yellow highlight color is so faint it’s sometimes impossible to see. The game’s radial wheel is coherent but sluggish and finicky to control. One of the reasons it takes so long to demolish a room is that you need to do it tile by tile or section by section. You can highlight larger sections but it’s awkward. When you paint a wall or retile the floor, the game animates the process by showing each laborious step. If there’s a way to speed it up, I didn’t see it. There are some visual glitches and graphical bugs that no amount of decluttering will eliminate.

If you’re a fan of the sim/building/cleaning genres and games like House Flipper, you’ll probably enjoy Hotel Renovator, though it doesn’t exactly break new ground. The process of demolishing and refurbishing the rooms is relaxing and chill enough, as it should be. That’s probably enough, but I wish the controls and camera were a bit more responsive and the campaign a little less skip-worthy. In the end, Hotel Renovator was engaging enough to keep me away from actual cleaning around the house, so goal accomplished.

***PC code provided by the publisher for review***

The Good

  • Relaxing and fun
  • Lots of decorations and options

The Bad

  • Some unrefined controls and camera
  • Bugs
  • Campaign is pretty average