If life gives you lemons, make lemonade, and if life gives you a reputation for an infestation of evil preternatural vampiric creatures, make a resort location and capitalize on the notoriety. Specifically, the family who star in Innkeeper are dealing with the legend of the aswang, a kind of demonic beastie from Filipino culture. They're also dealing with building and outfitting rooms, upgrading amenities, attracting customers from rednecks to Men in Black, and dealing with all kinds of hotel simulation gameplay you would expect. Can you help them take it all the way to a five star rating?
Unlike most sim games that are set in a make-believe, generally vaguely American world, Innkeeper is emphatically set in a real place: Siquijor, Philippines. This is perhaps the most significant aspect of the game. As you progress through the game, the character Hilaria gives you a rundown of the various types of aswangs in Filipino lore, but you'll also pick up quite about the country just by reading the short bios of each family member in the information section. Without taking itself too seriously, the game manages to satire both Filipino internal society and its international reputation. The game also delights in references to other Flash gaming hits and internet memes. This gives it a good balance of local color and global appeal.
Getting a really excellent simulation game within the confines of the typical Flash game dimensions is tricky, but Innkeeper wisely keeps the overall scale of the game down, with a maximum of six floors even at the very end of the game. The excellent, although unskippable, tutorial does a good job of explaining the complicated but efficient interface, and the game makes a great use of space generally. Some balance issues remain. Although the developer has tweaked some of the random chances, the relative difficulties of the various quests remain uneven. The room service area is particularly bad, largely because there is only one elevator and so deliveries get held up. However, this doesn't detract from the game's essential fun. Only one mystery remains: why do all the guests leave the hotel before nightfall? Maybe Sequijor really is a creepy place.