“So sexy / And pretty / Make you crazy / Hot girl”
That’s a line from the “Hot Girl” theme music for Hot Dog King, and it probably tells you everything you need to know about the game. Purportedly, Hot Dog King is a restaurant tycoon game, with an emphasis on fast food chains, but in reality the developer put way more emphasis on the female staff members that you can hire, and very little on making any sort of meaningful restaurant decisions, and so the game is a little odd to play.
But here’s the synopsis: Your goal in the game is to buy and run a series of restaurants so you can eventually take over the city where you’re playing. Restaurants range in level from 1 to 5, with 1 being basically a gas station mini-mart, and 5 being the equivalent of an Appleby’s. Upgrading restaurants allows you to hire more staff (including chefs and maintenance workers), serve more people, and make more money, but it costs a lot of money to do it, and so you have to watch your finances carefully.
You can have two kinds of staff in your restaurants. Franchise staff members are always female, and they’re the ones who work the counters and interact with the customers. These staff members are rated in a variety of categories (such as intelligence and boldness), and they’re given numerous options for what they can wear (including everything from skimpy bikinis to conservative dresses). The other staff members are usually guys, and they get to do the cooking and cleaning. These staff members are rated in three categories (such as cooking), and they don’t get to change their clothes. Guess which staff members are more fun.
The premise behind Hot Dog King could work, as long as you’ve always wanted to run a Hooters. But if you’re just looking for a restaurant tycoon game, then Hot Dog King fails miserably because it doesn’t give you enough to do. You’re given a bunch of outfits for dressing up your franchise staff members, but you’re not given any options for decorating your restaurant, and every restaurant serves the exact same selection of food. Once you’ve run one restaurant, you’ve run them all, and that puts a serious crimp in the campaign, where you’re expected to manage up to 16 restaurants.
Hot Dog King also includes some funny mini-games, where you can, for example, foil a robbery by throwing plates at the robbers (with bonus points for hitting them in the head), or use a ladle to kill rats, but there are only a handful of games, and after you’ve played them all a dozen times each, they begin to lose their luster. You’ll see everything the game has to offer in a couple of hours, and after that it’s just boring repetition -- well, boring repetition with attractive, scantily-clad females, but still.
The real problem with Hot Dog King is that it doesn’t know what it wants to be. It takes a family-friendly theme, but then it lets you parade around your staff members half naked (or more than half, usually) without anybody seeming to notice. I think the developer of the game would have been better off either going all raunchy (and switching the theme to something more like Coyote Ugly style pubs), or in keeping the game completely tame and adding in some actual restaurant decisions here and there. As it stands now, Hot Dog King isn’t going to be fulfilling to anybody, even at its bargain price.