App Review: Hot Springs Story [Video]

From the makers of Game Dev Story comes a game based on such a uniquely Japanese business it’s amazing it was ever translated. At a basic level a Hot spring is like a nudist overnight spa. I won’t go into the details of such a place when there’s perfectly good Wikipedias out there (LINK) but Hot Springs Story tasks you with building and managing a totally alien business with little to no direction. You’ll accomplish a lot in…

From the makers of Game Dev Story comes a game based on such a uniquely Japanese business it’s amazing it was ever translated.

At a basic level a Hot spring is like a nudist overnight spa. I won’t go into the details of such a place when there’s perfectly good Wikipedias out there (LINK) but Hot Springs Story tasks you with building and managing a totally alien business with little to no direction. You’ll accomplish a lot in Hot Springs Story by simply observing the behavior of your customers and deciding what should be built and where while trying new things. It’s this graphical part of the game that sets it far apart from Game Dev Story which comparatively might as well only been a series of menus.

There’s a wide variety of things that can be purchased, every visitor will want a room to stay in and a bath but there’s many other stores and facilities such as restaurants, arcades, ping pong tables and even fortune tellers. You’ll have to consider the placement for each room, not only to reduce the travel time of visitors but also because some rooms get bonuses when they are placed next to others, such as putting a vending machine next to where your guests sleep, conversely putting loud pachinko machines near a reading room will lower its attractiveness. There’s also environmental objects that can be placed that’ll boost the scenery of nearby rooms and so their placement also needs to be considered. Even beyond dropping objects on to the map there’s also competitions to be won, ventures to be invested in, items to use and different groups of people to target your advertising at. Hot Springs Story does a great job of always presenting you with something new to spend your money on as new things unlock, even if it doesn’t do too great of a job in letting you know what you should be spending your money on.

A single playthough lasts 16 years of in game time and will take many hours to get through. Once you’ve completed a playthough you can continue playing or replay bringing over some items and unlocks, which makes it easier to to achieve certain goals that, like most things in Hot Springs Story, remain hidden until you achieve them. There isn’t any hand holding to let you know what you should be shooting for to unlock items that you might want, for example an upgrade for the baths requires lanterns that you only get after placing enough of another type of object. This lack of transparency will likely leave many to searching for an online FAQ but even if you don’t find and unlock all the items on your first playthough it’s still a lot of fun to experiment with all of the other things going on.

For those expecting a game that plays just like Game Dev Story might be disappointed and the actual topic of the game most likely isn’t as close to the hearts of many people, but Hot Springs Story is both deep and fun, and from a technical standpoint is superior to Kairosoft’s previous game.

When you’re ready, head over to the Android Market and download this game by clicking or scanning the QR Code below.
Summary and Downloads:
Game: Hot Springs Story
Developer: Kairosoft
Cost:  $4.99

Are you a gamer? What games do you play most on your Android device and what else would you like us to review? Leave us your thoughts in the comments below!
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