In Hotel Mogul, the heroine’s scheming soon-to-be-ex husband has just filed for divorce, and in doing so has gained control of her prized real estate company. Now it’s your job to help her build an even more powerful real estate corporation that will be able to buy out the one she just lost.
Quite frankly, even though this premise sounds a little bit absurd, we’ve never seen a more compelling setting for a simple tycoon-style game. The childish “oh no he di-int” impetus was more than enough for us to get motivated, and it worked for us a heck of a lot better than the usual lame storyline about inheriting your grandfather’s amusement park and restoring it to its former glory.
Make your fortune like a young Conrad Hilton.
This isn’t the only aspect of Hotel Mogul that surprised and impressed us, either. The basic gameplay is similar to other games of its ilk. You buy land when it becomes available, build attractions and hotels to bring in tourists, and try to maximize the amount of money they spend on your land. What makes Hotel Mogul rise above the rest a bit is how these elements are implemented, and the extent to which they can actually make you feel like a real estate agent.
It’s not always as simple as “buy land, build, collect money, win game.” Properties aren’t available to buy whenever you please; you’ll have to wait for them to go up for sale on the market. When they do, there is a limited amount of time for you to make an offer, so often you’ll be short on cash as the sale starts to run out of time. This leads to a lot of down-to-the-wire fund raising as you attempt to quickly sell off less important properties. These also need to be sold on the open market, which means you’ll have to wait for offers to come in.
Note: Piggy bank not drawn to scale.
Hotel Mogul’s negotiating may lead to some slightly annoying, yet hilarious moments when the computer may try to low-ball you into selling off your property for cheap, which had us yelling things like, “$115,000 for a hotel on the lakefront!? This guy clearly doesn’t know who he’s dealing with. I AM the lakefront!”
Combine all of this with a slick interface and solid gameplay mechanics and Hotel Mogul is a very competent entry in the Tycoon genre. It’s hardly high-tech though, and the graphics are pretty minimal, except for the cutscenes, which are actually a bit grotesque. The human beings in these scenes– including the main character– are truly hideous. They look like some horrid mixture of an alien and an anthropomorphic insect.
That doesn’t amount to much other than a laugh, though. The gameplay is solid and that’s what counts. Hotel Mogul is a good game, and a solid bet for any fan of management simulations.