HomeReviews3.5/5 ReviewThe Isle Tide Hotel Review

The Isle Tide Hotel Review

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In the 1970s, film makers weren’t afraid to take risks. Even the most popular films of the time – the likes of The Godfather – were considered to be high-risk projects; the studio nearly pulled it. But there were plenty of other strange and wonderful films too, like The Wicker Man and Full Circle. These films weren’t afraid to take their audience into weird worlds of cults, horror and symbolism.

The Isle Tide Hotel reminds of some of those films from that time. This FMV is not afraid to take you to the world of the unreal, a place where narratives rarely move from A to B, preferring to wander.  

the isle tide hotel review 1
The doors of The Isle Tide Hotel are open

The prolific Wales Interactive now take us to The Isle Tide Hotel for a tale of mystery; one that is described by them as an interactive film. The game starts with a young woman being drugged and abducted by the most unexpected kidnapper. Then we meet our protagonist – who you will be playing. They are a private detective trying to find their missing daughter. But this guy has been an absent father and is desperate to make amends. 

His clues have led him to the hotel in question. This is a place that only ever opens for three days, every three years. It’s a very mysterious place, one that is exclusive, rife with rumors. What our hero discovers is a place of strange events, cult leaders, a scientist with bizarre experiments and a whole host of colourful and wonderful characters. 

It’s the characters you meet along the way that are the highlight of the game. The creative team has had a ball making those you meet feel alive in the world of the strange. It’s a big cast as well, with the most unconventional hotel receptionist you could ever meet, a married couple who speak as one, and a woman in a bar who is trying out a new body. Yes, it is strange. The performances themselves are very good though, with a high standard in casting and range of performances. 

the isle tide hotel review 2
The cast is brilliant

Much like many FMV games, the gameplay is quite simple. It basically consists of making decisions on how to respond to characters via dialogue trees. You should know the FMV drill by now, as your responses and decisions lead to many different endings and various outcomes to the game. I would say that The Isle Tide Hotel needs multiple playthroughs to get any kind of understanding of the story, or what the narrative is trying to attempt. But the question is whether the gamer will carry on – because some of the replays can get tedious. 

The pacing is a problem; the gap between you making a decision and the character on the film performing that action can feel quite long the first time around. But on a second or third playthrough, it feels like an age at times. There are some neat puzzle elements to the game and I loved a section where the protagonist was stuck in a maze of rooms, each slightly different from the last, but I’ve not been able to forget that pacing aspect. 

However, the visuals of The Isle Tide Hotel are of a high standard, especially in terms of filming, lighting, and presentation. It comes with some of the best costumes I’ve ever seen in an FMV game, with a great location playing host; that of the hotel itself. It’s great to see the ambition of the show in these games now and Wales Interactive seem to be pushing things bigger in their scope. 

the isle tide hotel review 3
The filming and presentation is top notch

Oh yeah, and the soundtrack? It is extremely good as well. 

I applaud The Isle Tide Hotel’s commitment to telling a strange tale. I personally like my narratives to be as weird as possible, enjoying those that try something different. It’s the ambition which excites. But as a ‘game’, there are some pacing problems with the decision making needing to get a shift along. You’ll also need to take in multiple playthroughs to get a sense of the narrative.

On the whole, if you’re an FMV fan then you’re going to enjoy a lot of what The Isle Tide Hotel has to offer. But just remember – don’t ever leave your room at night. 

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Strange narrative
  • Strong production values
  • A big cast
Cons:
  • Pacing
  • The narrative needs multiple playthroughs in order to make sense
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Wales Interactive
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, Switch, PC, PS4, PS5
  • Release date and price - 12 September 2023 | £15.74
Gareth Brierley
Gareth Brierleyhttp://www.garethbrierley.co.uk
I am an actor and a writer. I act quite a bit on stage, a little bit on tv and never on tuesdays. I have had some of my writing published and have written for TV and stage. I have been playing games since they begun and don't seem to be getting any better.
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Strange narrative</li> <li>Strong production values</li> <li>A big cast</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Pacing</li> <li>The narrative needs multiple playthroughs in order to make sense</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Wales Interactive</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, Switch, PC, PS4, PS5 <li>Release date and price - 12 September 2023 | £15.74</li> </ul>The Isle Tide Hotel Review
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