This will put a spring in your step!
There’s something charming about being transported to another place, to another role you know nothing about. You can argue all games do this, but Hot Springs Story’s simple, yet soothing gameplay has made me want to hop onto a plane to Japan, move to the countryside and start up my own Onsen.
Created by Kairosoft, Hot Springs Story is a management game that has no real story other than you’re now the owner of hot springs and by god, it is your destiny to be damned good at it! While you are given a brief introduction on what to do and how to improve your hot springs (scenery, lots and lots of scenery), you are then thrown into water and left to see if you’re going to sink or swim.
It seems harsh, but Hot Springs Story really does make learning how to run a business fun. You’ve got free reign on how to decorate and where to build things, but if you aren’t careful then you could end up losing money because none of your customers are attending the building you so painstakingly built because you built it next to a restaurant and, for some reason or other, that’s really off-putting.
That just makes the game twice as fun. Not only do you need to make sure you’ve got certain buildings placed together, but you’ll need to prioritize just what sort of customers you want to target. The youth? The seniors? Your landlord? Each new customer has their own perks, and once you raise them to a certain level that will trigger events you can invest in.
Events can unlock new customers or new buildings for your hot springs. Though beware, once you complete all the events? Well… Hot Springs Story can get a little boring from then on. In the first 10 or so in-game years, you’ve got plenty of things to do, but once you hit a certain amount of events and got number 1 in all of Japan’s hot springs review magazines, you’re left twiddling your thumbs.
However, Hot Springs Story does strike a perfect balance between making you want to just splash the cash and waiting to let your business grow. Every little reward, such as unlocking a new building or having a new type of customer come to your door, makes you feel accomplished. Even seeing those cute, pixel faces smile as they soak into a hot bath makes you just feel great about yourself. If you’re having a crappy day, play this game.
It’s just so adorable to look at too. Everything, from the building decorations down to the incredible scenery, looks like it has been given the love and attention it deserves, making the game ‘s world a pleasant experience to explore. It’s clear that even after seven years of mobile, Hot Springs Story works just as well, if not better, on the Nintendo Switch.
Overall, Hot Springs Story offers the player a small, but an enjoyable slice of Japan and their hot springs at the same time as allowing you to manage a fun, simulated business. If you love Japan and management games, there really isn’t a more perfect game for you.