Musical tower defense game Bad Hotel flips genre conventions on their heads

by Andrew Koziara

What I love about the App Store is just how often truly original and creative games come out. Granted, the vast majority of them are derivative clones. This is especially true of the tower defense genre. But with so many games being released every day, there is always something worthwhile. This week, that something is Bad Hotel from Lucky Frame. It's a game that asks, "What if tower defense games were actually about defending towers?" Then it throws in unique visuals, a big Texan bad guy, and music-making mechanics before calling it a day.

Essentially, this Texas tycoon hires you to build up a hotel before destroying it for a big insurance bonus. But you, whoever you are, isn't having it, and thus this epic was begins. The towers in this game are essentially different rooms which you add to the main tower. There are money-making rooms, tower-healing rooms, gun rooms, mine-launching rooms, ice-shooting rooms, and so on. Each type of room that you put down will play a different note at each count, and you essentially build the soundtrack at the same time as you build your defenses. It's a little random and gimmicky, but cool.

If you thought that was enough, there's more. The game is paced vastly differently than most tower defense titles. Usually, the difficulty will rise very gradually, sometimes barely changing between levels, all to increase total play time. Here, there aren't that many levels, but they get challenging fast, and I mean fast. Not only that, but you only get four towers per level, and you don't choose which ones to bring. Each level constantly has to reworking your strategies and thinking outside of the box.

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This game would be nearly perfect If it didn't have the execution issues it does, i.e. the controls. Unless you are extremely slow and cautious with it (which you often can't afford to be) they don't always work. Essentially, the tower placement is close to broken, often creating flimsy towers without much structural integrity. This is really my only gripe in an otherwise wonderful experience that is worth playing for the breath of fresh air alone. Everything is unique and interesting, and I still highly recommend this title.