Hotels frequently show up in games. The long hallways and series of identical rooms make for simple, believable level design. It’s rare to find a game that only takes place at a hotel, but The Norwood Suite is one such game. It’d be easy for it to get boring and overstay its welcome, but the game is a fun time from start to finish.
The Norwood Suite is a sequel of sorts to another quirky first-person game, namely Off Peak. That game had the player exploring a train station in order to piece together a shredded train ticket. This led to the player running afoul of a local brute who surrounded them at the end, only for them to be saved by a strange woman named Murial. It’s also free and only 20 minutes long, so anyone can give it a try. This game picks up after that one, with the main character being sent to the Norwood Hotel in order to deliver a CD to a DJ playing a show in the basement.
The game’s story and characters are strange and interesting. The hotel itself has a ton of personality and is really fun to explore. The hotel’s guests also have a lot to say, and you can stand around reading their conversations before interacting with them yourself. The visuals are extremely basic but bright, colorful, and unique. Overall, the game looks very low-rent, but it’s done in a charming way. Everything from the art on display to the architecture is striking. It all gives The Norwood Suite a good sense of place.
There’s Nothing Else Quite Like It Out There
Although I’ve seen it billed as a walking simulator, The Norwood Suite is more of an adventure game. The structure is fairly simple. You’re dropped on a pathway to the hotel and have to pick up a voucher for a free night’s stay. Upon gaining access to your room, you collect Murial’s CD and are told to get a costume to gain entrance to DJ Bogart’s show. The majority of the game involves collecting items, talking to, and doing favors for the people at the hotel in order to complete your costume.
That’s all very simple, indeed, but there’s just so much personality and strangeness on display. The Norwood Suite is extremely short, but it’s amusing and odd for every minute of its playtime. Every corner has something weird or surprising lurking in it. One of the hotel’s rooms, for instance, is much larger on the inside than it is on the outside. It’s made of a small-yet-large set of buildings with an animatronic man dancing in the middle of the road. And the game is absolutely loaded with views such as these.
As for control, well, it’s a first-person Unity adventure game. That’s pretty hard to mess up. You walk and open doors and drawers in order to search for the items you need to progress. You click with the left mouse button and pull in order to open things. There’s nothing more complicated here than that, which works to the game’s strengths. The drawers are also crammed with books that you can pick up and inspect for no reason other than appreciating the art on the front and back.
The Norwood Suite Is Short But Worth The Time
Most of The Norwood Suite‘s “puzzles” simply involve finding an item and delivering it one of the hotel’s guests. One guest wants swimming trucks, another wants some blank sheet music to write their songs on. There’s nothing here that’ll stump you. In the event that you don’t know what to do next, all you have to do is talk to a man at the concierge’s desk and he’ll immediately point you in the right direction.
It’s worth mentioning that the game is absolutely loaded with musical motifs. You’ll find sheet music all over the place. The man that the hotel is named after was a composer, and his work is frequently discussed. One of the main puzzles involves finding piano keys in order to play one of his compositions. The Norwood Suite definitely has a sort of avant-garde jazzy look and feel that gives it a fun tone and atmosphere.
As I said, The Norwood Suite is very short. Clocking in at only a couple hours long, there isn’t a lot of bang for your buck. That said, it’s still very much worth looking into for fans of quirky adventure games. Despite being able to finish it in one sitting, I think most people would absolutely find the game to be very memorable and worth exploring again in the future. It was also in a Humble Monthly, so you might even have a copy in your Steam account without remembering. If you find yourself with a hankering for a unique time and have a couple of hours to kill, then I definitely recommend this strange, jazzy ride.