Ever since Rollercoaster Tycoon and The Sims hit store shelves a couple years ago, sim games have been all the rage. Amusement parks, zoos, ski resorts, golf courses and more have been covered, but the one thing all the games have in common is that they either start out with an inherently fun setting, or the developers are able to add fun elements to the setting -- or both. The key word, of course, is “fun” since the sim games are games rather than business simulations. So what happens if a developer decides to create a sim game in a boring setting and then fails to add fun elements to it? You get something like Maximum Capacity: Hotel Giant from Enlight Software, one of the most deathly boring games you’re ever likely to play.
Hotel Giant is all about building hotels. You get to design hotel attractions (bars, restaurants, health spas, and so forth) as well as guest accommodations, and you have to balance quality with profitability when you do so. The problem with Hotel Giant is that it stops there. There isn’t any game element to running the hotel once you build it, and you can usually afford to build the entire hotel at the start of the scenario. So each scenario goes something like this: spend a couple hours designing the hotel, and then spend about five minutes zipping through time until you win (or not). The only things you have to deal with once the game starts are guest complaints and staff hirings and firings, but the complaints are pretty predictable once you’ve played a little, and the hirings and firings usually aren’t necessary
Luckily, the design part of the game works pretty well. Enlight Software included lots of types of furnishings (like seven types of tables), as well as lots of variations for each type (like eight nightstands), so there are lots of objects to play with. Plus, there are hotel attractions as well as different grades of guest rooms to deal with (everything from economy class to presidential suites), so there are all sorts of rooms to build. The problem is that room design isn’t really fun even when it’s done well, and the more you have to do it the more boring it gets. Since in Hotel Giant you have to design rooms a lot -- even despite a friendly copy and paste feature -- and since there isn’t anything else to do in the game, obviously Hotel Giant isn’t very much fun to play.
Worse, it doesn’t even work well as a business simulation. Too much of Hotel Giant is simplified or just screams “game.” For example, each object in the game has a maintenance cost, and the better the object is the higher its cost is. That makes sense in some ways, but why would different wastepaper baskets have different maintenance costs (or maintenance costs at all)? And why would one single bed have an upkeep four times as high as another? And how can door frames have different qualities, let alone different maintenance costs? Plus, there are other problems, like the lack of maids and bellhops, and the fact that guests don’t seem to care how much they pay for their rooms, that cause Hotel Giant to lose any sense of realism.
But at least Hotel Giant looks pretty good -- even if it does borrow its look from The Sims (probably not coincidentally). The people and furnishings look good even if you zoom the camera way in, and there are lots of nice details in the character animations. For example, when guests play pool, the game keeps track of the balls on the table, and the guests always strike the cue ball first. Moreover, you have complete freedom to move the camera, and you can even cause it to follow along behind a guest so you can essentially see what it sees. But like designing rooms, watching the hotel guests is something that’s fun for a while and then loses its appeal once you’ve seen everything.
Overall, Hotel Giant is a nicely made but very boring game. If Enlight Software had even tried to make running the hotel fun, then Hotel Giant might have been fun enough to play. But as it stands now, Hotel Giant is sort of like The Sims, but without the ability to play one of the characters and without the ability to import new furnishings and character skins. That is, it’s like The Sims but without the stuff people play it for. So avoid Hotel Giant at all costs, and make your reservation somewhere else.