The Isle Tide Hotel’s biggest crime is that it’s not even so bad it’s funny. It’s just bad bad. Bad bad bad bad bad. There’s no reason to play this game other than sheer morbid curiosity, and no reason to recommend this game to anybody for anything other than spite.
But first, the formalities, so we can all get out of here. The Isle Tide Hotel is an FMV mystery thriller in which you play as Josh, a man searching for his estranged daughter who’s disappeared after visiting the titular hotel. Everyone in the hotel is doolally. Something sinister is afoot. Can you solve the mystery of the Isle Tide Hotel and repair your relationship with your daughter?
What follows is standard FMV game fare. You talk to people, make decisions, and the story adapts to your choices. But the characters you meet are bewildering. They often talk in riddles with dreamlike cadence, only instead of unsettling and haunting, it’s all just vaguely embarrassing, like watching your mum re-enacting her favourite bits from Twin Peaks after a couple of sherries too many. Some characters are annoying. Most, actually. There’s not a laugh to be had in the entire experience, intentional or otherwise.
Despite the interesting premise, the mystery never takes off because we’re not given enough meat on the bone to sink our teeth into, and by the time the secrets start to be revealed, we’d just lost interest. The story is little more than a series of bizarre interactions culminating in an atrocious section in which you must navigate a sort of maze of identical rooms — or at least, it did for us in both of our runs. It’s a frustrating end to a frustrating game.
If you buy into the mystery and you can tolerate the obnoxious characters then you’ll get more out of this than we did. But by the time we were lost in the maze, bamboozled, for what felt like an hour, we just didn’t care anymore. We played it twice and got different endings and neither was worth it. Maybe there’s an ending that’s a banger and we just missed it. We suspect not.