The Isle Tide Hotel is a letdown compared to Wales Interactive’s usually brilliant FMV Adventures

I’ve been a fan of Wales Interactive’s FMV adventures for a while, but The Isle Tide Hotel isn’t up to par.

Between its odd, unintelligible dialogue, the stunted acting that breaks up scenes, and the ridiculously slow user interface that somehow dials up to rocket speed when you need to make a decision, you’re frustrated before you’ve barely even started.

Where games like Late Shift, The Bunker, and even Who Pressed Mute on Uncle Marcus have succeeded is in gripping the player from the off, leaning in hard on their niches, and offering performances that feel believable, grounded, and actually add to the narrative in meaningful ways. All while providing a UI that keeps pace with the game.

The Isle Tide Hotel feels like it’s gone back to the early 90s era of FMV games where everything felt wooden and rehearsed. And maybe that’s the point as the game tries to sell itself as a Twin Peaks esque experience, but it just doesn’t translate into a particularly enjoyable game.

The actors try with what they’re given, and, in fact, the ending sequences produce the best results of the whole game when the actors are finally allowed to stop talking around the subject and actually perform, but the writing really fails them more often than not. A perfect example is the opening sequence where you’re in conversation with a cab driver and you’re asking about a missing girl, the answer feels all over the place.

In one line, he tries to be bantery, then he gets overly descriptive, seems to know exactly who and what you’re talking about even though your question is as vague as it gets, and then provides some weird riddle-like answer that just goes over your head. I’ve gone on a rollercoaster in less than a paragraph.

And yes, a couple of playthroughs do enable you to see the characters from different points of view, so you can get a bit of a better understanding of them, what their relationship to the hotel is and why they are the way they are. But being completely honest with you? I stopped caring long before I rolled credits the first time.

In part, it’s because the game just falls apart on the decision-making front. Certain screens will provide a variety of options to you, like talking to two people standing stock still on your screen, staring into the ether – which, frankly, made me laugh more than any of the actual attempts of humour – or visiting a table with a ton of random notes just….left there.

You’re also often presented with a scenario where you don’t really know how to answer because you haven’t got a chance to get to know the person and they spoke in such a way that you don’t really know what the hell they’re talking about.

Also, a word on the UI which has to have the slowest default scrolling bar I’ve ever seen. Seriously, I’ve seen PS1 games move faster. And the amount of time between gaps in conversation, you becoming aware of something in the environment and then finally being able to interact is unbelievably sluggish.

The game loses so much momentum and pace because of it, and it often makes the lead actor, in particular, look a bit silly after he pulls an inquisitive expression,remains mute, and is just left hanging for 10-15 seconds.

The game does improve somewhat after the torrid opening sequence and you start to look around the hotel and learn more about the mystery. If you’ve survived that long, you might find an enjoyable excursion here, but even that wasn’t enough to keep me invested. One or two endings in the game do produce some really strong performances like I said, but nothing ever really gripped me and made for an especially satisfying experience.

Who Pressed Mute on Uncle Marcus, on the other hand, I couldn’t stop playing until I got a Platinum. Here, I couldn’t wait for it to be over.

I’m sorry, this all feels overly harsh and I don’t want to sound mean. Maybe I wasn’t the right audience for this game despite loving other Wales Interactive FMV adventures. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for a game to try and be clever when it’s failing miserably. All I know is this one disappointed me and that’s a real shame.


The Isle Tide Hotel often tries to be too clever for its own good and it ends up harming the overall experience. It’s hard to care much about the characters because half the time you don’t know what they’re talking about, the UI keeps slowing you down and breaks momentum and pace for the game at almost every key decision, and despite offering ten different endings, you might not even make it to seeing one because the game rarely fails to grip or interest. 


+ Large variety of endings and possible outcomes
+ Some good individual acting performances
+ Nice setting and scene setup


– UI is sluggish, slow and momentum draining
– Writing regularly fails the actors and is often confusing
– Long, delayed, awkward pauses just break immersion
– Not a particularly gripping story

The Isle Tide Hotel is out now on all formats 

Code Kindly Provided by Wales Interactive for review purposes

Tested on Xbox Series X

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