Hotel Dusk: Room 215, released in Japan as , is a graphic adventure game for the Nintendo DS. Originally announced on October 5 2005 as Wish Room, the game made its first public appearance on May 9 2006 at that year's E3 convention. It was released in North America on January 22 2007, before being released subsequently in other regions. The game supports the Nintendo DS Rumble Pak accessory. It was later republished in 2008 as part of the Touch Generation line of DS games.
The game takes place in the fictional Hotel Dusk, a small, somewhat rundown hotel located in the southwestern United States near Los Angeles, California during the year 1979. The game's protagonist is Kyle Hyde, a former member of the New York Police Department searching for his old partner, Brian Bradley. During his stay at the hotel, Kyle unravels a mystery shrouded in the hotel's past that may lead him to the answers he's looking for.
The player, as Kyle Hyde, moves around and interacts with the environment using the DS's touch screen and must solve a variety of puzzles using the handheld's various features including the touch screen, microphone, and closable cover. The DS is held rotated 90 degrees from normal, like a book, with an option in the game to allow the player to switch which side the touchpad is on depending on which hand is dominant.
Throughout the game, the player must speak with the various hotel patrons and employees in order to uncover vital information. The player can show the characters items that Kyle has collected, or ask questions that have been brought to Kyle's attention. By asking the right questions, Kyle will uncover the information he needs. If he asks the wrong question, makes a wrong assumption, or shows the wrong item, he may confuse or anger the person. This is usually indicated by a darkening of the character in question. This can result in Kyle being forced to retreat to his room or getting kicked out of the hotel, leaving him unable to solve the mystery.
The game is filled with puzzles. Most of them involve using the touch screen. Movement is made by leading an iconic representation of Kyle around a map of the hotel on the touch screen while a first-person three dimensional view is shown on the other screen.
There is also a journal to write in. It gives three pages to write in, with a simple pencil/eraser system.
Unfortunately, Evans' art dealings had attracted crime syndicates, including one called "Nile". In 1969, Evans bought Hotel Dusk with the intent to use it as a meeting ground for Nile, and as a location where Dunning could secretly paint. One day, Dunning had been invited to Hotel Dusk. Jenny, Dunning’s daughter, was brought along and was left to play with Mila, Evans' daughter, unsupervised in another room. While discussing with Evans, Dunning refused to continue painting, and as a result, a Nile agent kidnapped Jenny. Mila was frightened and tried to stop him, but was lifted and rendered unconscious into a coma. When they came back, Mila was unconscious on the floor and Jenny was missing. Evans transported Mila to Robbins Memorial Hospital and came back to the hotel the following morning. He told Dunning that if he wanted Jenny back, he would have to continue painting as Osterzone. In the meantime, Evans continued to visit Mila at the hospital once a month without fail. After becoming too involved with Nile, Evans was forced to close down the art gallery and sold Hotel Dusk to Dunning. After three years of painting, Dunning decided to quit after losing hopes of retrieving Jenny. Dunning received a letter written by Evans, promising Jenny would be returned if he would be patient and wait at Hotel Dusk. Dunning reopened Hotel Dusk in 1974, after hiding all evidence of Osterzone and Nile. Rumors about Jenny being stolen at the hotel began to surface, which resulted in Dunning making up a story about Room 215 being able to grant wishes to attract customers.
Bradley, however, managed to survive and six months prior to the present, found his way to Hotel Dusk. He met Dunning for the first time, and explained to him that he knew about Evans, Nile, and Osterzone. Dunning, who didn’t trust Bradley, lied to him and told him he didn’t know what he was talking about. Knowing that Kyle would likely follow him, Bradley checked in under Kyle's name and left several clues. He also returned "Angel Opening a Door" back to Dunning. After his stay at Hotel Dusk, Bradley decided to visit Mila at the hospital, as she reminded him of his younger sister who shared the same name. Bradley gave her a bracelet that used to belong to his sister which has the name “Mila” on it. Shortly after this, Mila came out of her coma, 10 years older and unable to speak. After waiting 6 months at the hospital for her father’s arrival, Mila decided to find him herself, but her only clue was an old Hotel Dusk brochure (which had been left by Bradley during his visit). While walking along the highway to Hotel Dusk, Kyle passed by her in his car and they caught a short glimpse of each other. She arrived at Hotel Dusk shortly after Kyle checked in, and this is where the story begins.
Brian Bradley - A 'ghost', Kyle has spent 3 years searching high and low for his former friend. He is the reason that Kyle keeps on searching for answers to what happened years ago.
Mila Evans - A young girl in white. Remains mute for a large portion of the story and doesn't speak until close to the end. She arrives at the hotel shortly after Kyle and stays with Rosa, the maid.
Dunning Smith - The owner of the Dusk. Has a habit of stomping around in frustration and doesn't like suspicious individuals. He has an equal disdain for police and seedy characters. His reaction to Kyle having the same name as a previous guest is one of the game's biggest mysteries.
Louis 'Louie' DeNonno - Belhop and bartender for the Hotel. A former pickpocket from New York who Kyle used to bust on occasion. He tries to gain Kyle's trust and does what he can to provide information and necessary items for Kyle. [In the original Japanese, Louis's last name was Franco]
Rosa Fox - Works as the maid and the cook. Kyle playfully refers to her as 'the wonder maid'. A mouthy and overweight woman with a generous spirit, dispensing words of wisdom and even caring for Mila when the girl arrives at the hotel.
Jeff Angel - Stays in Room 213. Is spoiled and constantly complains of the Hotel's shortcomings, which makes him very unpopular with the other characters. He seems to have a connection with a recent incident in Beverly Hills.
Martin Summer - A famous novelist who resides in Room 211, author of "The Secret Word". Has a habit of speaking using Shakespearian dialect, which only makes him more unliked by Kyle. His package, containing a manuscript and bookmark, are handed to Kyle in error through Louis' mistake. This mix-up, though, leads to Kyle finding out a dark secret Martin had hoped to keep quiet.
Iris - A beautiful young woman in Room 216, across the hall from Kyle's room. Easily offended by the littlest things. She seems to show an interest in Kyle, but the salesman does not seem to notice, or care.
Helen Parker - An old woman with an eye-patch who lives in Room 212. She had hoped to stay in 215, but was too late in her arrival as Kyle booked the room moments before. Kind and sweet natured, Helen hopes to be reunited with someone who's 'very near and dear to (her) heart'.
Melissa Woodward - A bratty ten year old. She likes to play games by making people finish her puzzle. It later becomes evident that she misses her mother, who has gone missing, and she blames her father for this.
Kevin Woodward - Stays in Room 219 with his daughter, Melissa. A doctor at Robbins Memorial. It turns out his is looking for his wife, Grace.
Ed Vincent - President of Red Crown, the business Kyle works for. He works a side business where he has Kyle track down lost objects for clients. Occasionally gathers useful pieces of information for Kyle to aid in his search.
Rachel - Ed's secretary, and a friend of Kyle. She seems to have an eye for Kyle, as she affectionately refers to him as "sweetie" constantly. Kyle speaks to her normally when he gets a beep on his pager, as Ed is usually 'out at the moment'. Kyle relies on her to gather information on clues when Ed isn't around.
Marcel Osterzone - Known as the "The Phantom Painter". A dead artist from the late Nineteenth century who was unknown until 1963.
Grace Woodward - Melissa's mother and Kevin's wife. Worked at an art museum in Santa Monica a while back. She mysteriously goes missing after a confrontation with her husband over how she procured a sizable amount of cash.
Robert Evans - The curator of Gallery May, an art museum in Santa Monica. He goes missing 7 years prior to the beginning of the story.
According to an article on QJ.net, the game took only a year and half to create. The game uses rotoscoping to animate its characters while a brushwork style illustrates the game's environments with half-finished backgrounds with 3-D objects strewn about. While not a first in gaming, rotoscoping is still rare in most games (with only a handful, namely the original Prince of Persia using the animation style).
The game was also selected as one of Gaming Target's "52 Games We'll Still Be Playing From 2007.
Trigames.NET contributor Sara "SophinaK" Spaulding gave the game a perfect score (5 out of 5), praising its "great storytelling, self-aware humor" and "unique artistic flair."