In The Norwood Suite, the chef asked me to go to his hotel room and pick up some pickles from the closet. Instead, I got lost in a hidden corridor that curved through the resort, dumping me out into the kitchen right next to the giant chess room. That’s just how it goes in The Norwood Suite, this week’s Indie Pick.
The Norwood Suite is an exploration game by Cosmo D. Set in the Hotel Norwood, players explore the massive resort to run errands for guests, eavesdrop on conversations, and get lost behind the hotel walls while searching for hidden secrets. The Hotel Norwood shifts and bends in a contortion of magical realist paradox. What you think is a simple door to the hallway could open up to a lonely indoor pool room or exclusive club. As you wander the wild hallways, you hear quiet conversations between friends, angry managers shouting on phones, and storytellers recalling how the famous composer Peter Norwood disappeared while playing his masterpiece.
Managing mood is a difficult task for games, but The Norwood Suite never feels too silly or too serious. The characters in the hotel seem a bit strange but remain likable. Two friends play board games in the library; will you help the less experienced one win by finding a book of strategies? The executive of an energy drink company grins at you while offering a drink; you’re not thirsty but maybe you can find someone else who is. The Norwood Suite is a collection of strange moments, connected by twisty exploration and a grand sense of mystery. There’s a lot going on that you can experience at your own pace. It’s confusing and everything feels a little bit wrong, but that’s okay.
I’m still exploring the Hotel Norwood and learning more of its secrets. There’s magic within these halls, and I’m not going to rest until I find it all. You can also search for the truth by playing The Norwood Suite on PC.