When Ella’s father dies, his last wish is for her to inherit his hotel. Only problem, her stepmother, Abigail, holds the key and, unless Ella can prove that she can give the hotel another star in one month, Abigail’s selling it. Can Ella get that star just before the deadline, or will the hotel fall into the hands of her evil stepmother?
That’s right, it’s a modern take on the classic fairy tale, Cinderella, and this review for it will contain spoilers. If you want to go into the game fresh, you might want to jump to the second to last paragraph. Anyway, true to the theme of the game, Ella wants to redesign it with fairy tale VIP rooms in time for the critic to get here. Since she’s friends with the staff, she relies on them for help. Anyone who’s seen this kind of plot knows where this is going. That’s right, Ella gets so obsessed with succeeding that she forgets the people around her. People I would feel a lot more sympathy for if they didn’t act like such jerks. I am not kidding; Abigail lies to each one of the staff about how Ella betrayed them, and they buy it without a second thought. Ella, who they have known all their life, is suddenly at the top of their most hated list because of lies told by a stepmother they know to be cruel and vindictive. So, you can predict that they easily turn on Ella. Which causes this story to rely on the easily condemned trope that I hate. It gets to the point that, when Ella’s stepsister, Jennifer, volunteers to help the staff when she’s really helping Abigail sabotage the hotel, the staff blames Ella for any mistakes Jennifer makes. To make a bad situation worse, they get angry at Ella for firing Charley later on. Charley is the bellhop who’s pushing seventy, so carrying heavy suitcases can be a difficult task for him. He’s had several accidents and many customers have complained about his inability to do his job, the one he’s paid for. However, he’s been with the hotel for years, so the staff doesn’t want to see him go even though continuing to work such a strenuous job could kill him. Ella, naturally, has to let him go and the staff treats her like the bad guy for it even though, as she points out, Charley’s too old to do his job anymore. What’s even more infuriating is that this game takes place right after Emily’s Road Trip, where the Elvis impersonator had to realize that, because he’s getting older, he can’t imitate Elvis’s dance moves anymore. So, either this game had different writers, or the writers forgot the moral of their last game. In the end, Charley gets his job back, but Ella keeps the younger bellhop she hired. So, I guess that Ella’s going to let Charley keep his job but have the younger bellhop lighten the load.
As for Abigail, she is all over the place. One scene has her function as the cartoonish villain, wanting to sabotage Ella and actually laughing in her mirror. Then she’s trying to control her own daughter so that she can sabotage Ella. I mentioned that Jennifer was volunteering at the hotel and purposely screwing up her tasks. Yet Jennifer’s not an evil stepsister, just a meek young woman desperate for her mother’s approval. I’ll admit, I actually like that part and Jennifer’s journey to grow a backbone is an interesting one to watch. However, it doesn’t make up for Abigail’s magical transformation in the end where she’s suddenly nice. The game tries to wash this away by claiming that Abigail’s just guarded as Jennifer points out but there’s no evidence of this throughout the game. You can’t have a cartoonish villain character and try to give her depth. It just doesn’t work.
As I said earlier, this game is a modern retelling of a classic fairy tale. Like every fairy tale, this one involves magic. Except the only magic here is a curse placed on Ella’s family which makes it impossible for her to succeed. The curse is so bad that a tree branch breaks off and destroys the Enchanted Forest VIP room, which causes Ella to lose hope. Thankfully, she gets her hope back and saves the hotel at the end, but we also learn how the family was cursed and it is stupid. Apparently, Ella’s grandfather dated a witch and got caught cheating on her. The witch got so angry, she took it out on his entire family instead of just the grandfather and that’s how the family became cursed. It’s a plot that’s so stupid and tacked on, you could literally remove it from the game and not one single thing would be affected.
The game play is mediocre at best with the typical time management style. You give the customers who walk in what they want and then send them on their way.
Fulfill the special task in each level to get a diamond and don’t forget to catch the mouse. This game comes with a bonus feature of using social media to help advertise the hotel. Don’t get too excited, social media’s more for decoration than anything else. All you do is view messages, look to see how many likes you got (which you have to get from customers during the levels) and view pictures.
You don’t get to choose the pictures, make any posts, or even respond to the messages. I honestly wish that they’d done more with this aspect of the game, such as have you post on it and respond to the messages. Maybe even have different possible endings like in Dr. Cares: Family Practice where your decisions have an impact on the plot as a whole. Otherwise, it just feels like a waste of time.
This game is fun but has a frustrating story with unlikeable characters. I give it 4 out of 10, interesting elements but a waste of a classic fairy tale. Do you feel the same way or do you beg to differ? Also, if you have your own request, feel free to say so in the comments, email me, or friend me on Discord at suburbantimewaster#8733.