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Great scenery adds to the popularity of your attractions.
Even given some of the extremely bizarre games that have appeared on the App Store over the past years, Hot Springs Story may be one of the strangest. Rather than appeal to time-honored fantasies like being a sports star or space marine like most games today, Hot Springs Story appeals to those who have a burning desire to manage a Japanese hot springs resort, an obviously infinitesimally small niche on this side of the Pacific.
Hot baths get bonuses from having the right surroundings.
Thankfully, you don't need to be an hot springs fanatic to enjoy the latest game from Kairosoft, the developer behind the 2010 cult hit, Game Dev Story. You'll begin the game as an upstart hot springs manager struggling to fill just a few rooms in the resort. Soon though, you'll be able to grow it into a bustling mega-resort with dozens of rooms, hot springs baths, massage chairs, and beautiful Japanese trees and flowers.
Building a thriving resort is an addictive joy.
It doesn't stray too far from the traditional format of a management simulator. Building up your business is an immensely satisfying experience, and fosters a great attachment to the grounds. Every room and shrub that is added to the building is placed by the player, which gives you a great sense of pride when the business does well.
You may not be familiar with the Japanese hot springs business, but Hot Springs Story will pull you in nonetheless.
There are some tricks and challenges to fostering a successful business, though. A hot springs resort lives and dies by its feng shui layout and beautiful scenery. Your guests won't enjoy their experience unless they're relaxed and have all of the facilities they need. It gets even more tricky when you have to create sections of the resort for a specific group (like young couples, students, businesswomen, and so on) and must cater to their specific desires.
The bottom line. It's a blast building your business from the ground up, and you'll get a real sense of satisfaction from watching it grow. The only issue is that there's too much time where you're not really doing very much besides watching numbers go up. It lacks the climactic moments that Game Dev Story had, but still manages to be very enjoyable overall.
iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 3.1 or later.
Cute as a button. Addicting gameplay. Fun to decorate.
Lots of downtime. Not enough variety in gameplay.