For a while it was WW2. Then came zombies. A while after that, everything was open-world fantasy. Gaming is very susceptible to memetic themes, with certain topics taking over to the point of saturation. But if you’d given me a million guesses where we’d be in 2022, I don’t think I’d have guessed, “Tidying up.” The fantastic-looking trailer for Bloody Hell Hotel sees this theme reach even vampire-kind.
I blame Stardew Valley. If a non-AAA game doesn’t list its inspiration as Into The Breach, then you can bet it’ll be Stardew Valley, and that’s the game cited in promotional materials here. That’s your choice: cards or chores. But let’s not accidentally let this slip into a complaint, since both genres are giving us a lot of gold just now. Bloody Hell Hotel seems to surf the zeitgeist with exquisite timing, with an announcement trailer that shows fixing, cleaning, sorting, and brutally chopping the heads off of enemies.
This is from Unfold Games, who previously made the surrealist puzzle game, Darq. Back then, the company was a team of one—Wlad Marhulets—but is now a more established little studio.
I think what I enjoy so much from this trailer is how hard it is to get a pin in exactly what it is we’ll be doing in the game. It’s a game about organizing a hotel? It’s a game about being a cleaning telepath? It’s about being a brutal vampire who eats the guests? Or is it a first-person sword-combat game where you’re fighting off hordes of skeletons? It turns out it’s all those at once.
It seems you’re a vampire who’s been in a coma for the last few centuries. As you’d imagine, this means your enormous mansion is in a bit of a dilapidated state, but now’s the time to get it spruced up and open it as a hotel. This will involve some first-person farming, crafting, creating, and indeed fighting, to gather resources and restore your home until other people want to stay in it.
That undead cow that appears so violently in the trailer can apparently be milked, while there are zombie chickens you can look after for eggs. And indeed if a guest is particularly annoying, you can just drink their blood and serve their meat up to everyone else. You know, like in Stardew Valley.
There’s also a bit of a Moonlighter vibe to things, with the hotel to run and manage above ground, and then the expansive dungeons of the building to adventure through below. You go on these fighty quests to gather resources for running the business upstairs.
Which all sounds excellent to me. Cult Of The Lamb meets a dungeon crawler. I do think a lot with ride on whether the telekinetic controls are really as good as they’re portrayed in the preview footage, but given people’s current proclivity for pressure-washing playgrounds, running intricate farms, and putting things neatly away, this seems like just the ticket.