Most hotels aren't seeing much business of late, but the same can't be said of Hotel Sowls, the namesake setting of indie two-man developer Studio Sott's surreal black-and-white mystery adventure.
Players assume the role of a pharmacologist who learns from a century-old newspaper that a "mysterious stone was found in Sowls region." Believing this stone to be a "rare and valuable pharmaceutical ingredient," you decide to pursue it and successfully manage to discover it. Unfortunately, feeling "tired from a long trip, you decide to take a rest at Hotel Sowls" before heading home, and overnight the stone is stolen. Now you must search the hotel to find the thief and retrieve the stone, but in the process you'll discover that the hotel is concealing secrets of its own.
Presented from a bird's-eye view with a pseudo-pointillist art style and minimal use of colour, Hotel Sowls is set in a "strange and surreal world" with a "dreamlike" atmosphere. The protagonist looks like a ghost, but really he's not, so you'll need to guide him around the titular hotel, searching for clues, collecting journal entries, making choices, and interrogating the unusual people you meet. Certain people may ask you to run errands for them in exchange for a reward, but "it is up to you whether you will accept their requests or not." When you need a break from detective work, you can always head down the underground bar, where you can "play darts, or ask the bartender to read tarot cards." Wherever you go, keep a sharp eye out as careful observation may unlock hidden rooms on the way to one of several different endings.
Originally released on Steam for Windows and Mac in December 2019, Hotel Sowls is now open for business on the Nintendo eShop for Switch as well.