Hotel Casino is a new Facebook game developed by Merrywind Inc. and published by Korean company Soribada Games. The game launched this week and is up against stiff competition — Zynga’s Texas HoldEm Poker is still one of the most consistently-popular titles on the social network, and other casino games are more well-established. Merrywind and Soribada are doubtless hoping that Hotel Casino’s unique features are enough to distinguish it from its numerous rivals.
Hotel Casino casts players in the role of an up-and-coming mogul seeking to make their name on the Vegas Strip. Beginning with a modest pot of cash, players must play casino games in an attempt to raise enough capital to purchase their own hotel and rule their own little piece of the Strip.
The hotel players have access to at the beginning of the game offers three casino games: Blackjack, Texas Hold ‘Em Poker and a dice game called Tai-Sai (aka Big and Small). Two more — Caribbean Stud and Baccarat — are listed as “coming soon.” Upon choosing a game, players may select any of a large number of rooms in which to play and then take a virtual seat at the table to play alongside several other players. Betting is timed to ensure no-one holds up proceedings, but if a player is in a room solo they may bypass the time limit by simply clicking a button to proceed straight to the main gambling phase of the game in question.
During the casino games, players are able to talk to one another using a built-in chat interface. Chat messages appear as speech bubbles over players’ Facebook profile pictures to allow participants to “see” who is “talking” at any one time. Players may also click on one of these avatars to either view their opponent’s Hotel Casino profile and statistics or send them a “treat” — a small, completely useless item that costs a small number of chips and appears next to the recipient’s picture.
Outside of the casino, players have several options. If they have enough money (and one is available), they may purchase a hotel and begin managing it. The hotel then begins earning them money according to how many players are making use of it and the policies the owner has put in place. It’s possible for a hotel owner to put an admission price in place, set the minimum and maximum stake and customize exactly which games are available. Players may also manage a “VIP List” for their hotel, which allows frequent visitors or guests to take part in games with even higher stakes.
As a means of earning additional money, players may purchase and collect various gemstones and ask their friends to help them “manufacture” them into higher-quality jewels. These may then be sold to provide a significant boost to funds and also provide a “collectathon” metagame atop the whole experience.
Hotel Casino has some great ideas, but these are undermined by a clumsy, unclear tutorial and some hasty translation from (presumably) Korean. There are some complex game mechanics at play in the game, but many of them are explained very poorly — the way gems can be “upgraded” is a particular offender in this regard.
The player community is also, at this time, very small. This will hopefully change over time but at the time of writing it is sometimes difficult to find people to play against, and this will also impact the community-run hotels — if there’s no-one playing, there’s no-one to run them!
This aside, Hotel Casino is an interesting new take on the stale “virtual casino” genre and deserves to see some success simply for trying something a little different. Its in-game text needs a lot of cleaning up and it needs time to attract (and retain) a large community but once it does, there’s a good game that makes interesting use of the online community here. It’s just not quite ready yet.
Hotel Casino is not yet listed on our traffic tracking service AppData, but Facebook reports the game has approximately 3,000 monthly active users.
Some strong potential here, but needs some cleaning up, proofreading and a larger player base before it becomes truly noteworthy.