One of the surprise hits from last year was Game Dev Story [$3.99/Lite] from Kairosoft. This quirky simulation game allowed you to create your own game development company and release a series of titles across multiple platforms. Game Dev Story was littered with all kinds of references to the real history of video games, making it especially appealing to long time gamers like myself. We loved the game when we reviewed it last October, and Game Dev Story went on to suck countless hours from iOS gamers ever since.

Coming off the huge success of Game Dev Story, Kairosoft has talked about their plans to bring a sequel to iOS in the distant future. Then earlier this year, they launched an interesting looking title called The Game Dealer in the Japanese App Store. Similar to Game Dev Story, The Game Dealer has you heading up a brick and mortar video game store and dealing with all the simulation elements that go along with it.

We speculated that The Game Dealer would be the next to get a localized US release, but earlier today we were surprised to see that Kairosoft’s US follow-up to Game Dev Story is instead a game called Hot Springs Story [$3.99]. In Hot Springs Story, you (unsurprisingly) manage a Japanese hot springs inn, building it out to your liking and attracting customers to patronize your establishment. AppBank has a gameplay video of the Japanese version of Hot Springs Story to give you an idea of what it plays like:

Hot Springs Story has been available in the Japanese App Store since December, and seeing as how it was their follow-up release to Game Dev Story in Japan I still think we’ll end up seeing The Game Dealer localized as well in due time. For now, though, you’ll be able to live out your fantasy of running a relaxing hot springs resort, just as you’ve always dreamed... right? Early impressions in our forums are positive, noting that the interface and mechanics are nearly identical to Game Dev Story but with a few welcome enhancements like zooming and landscape display.

The gameplay appears to be just as engaging as well, and chances are if you liked Game Dev Story then you’ll get similar enjoyment out of Hot Springs Story. Just don’t start playing too close to your bed time if you value sleep. We’ll have more on Hot Springs Story once we’re able to break away from our GDC shenanigans long enough to engulf ourselves in the world of hot springs management, but you can grab the game right now for an introductory sale price of $3.99.

  • Wisedude

    Looks like a theme park style game which isn't bad but I'm not sure it will be anywhere near as compelling as Game Dev Story. It will probably be quite a fun game but the subject of a steam hotel doesn't really compel me to buy.

    I'll definitely keep an eye on the ratings it gets if their favourable enough I might pick it up but I kind of wish they had went the theme park or zoo route.

    • http://twitter.com/Inaba_kun Phil Baxter

      Onsens basically are theme parks in Japan.

  • http://twitter.com/dusser Rasmus Andersson

    Looks like a game that would be a better fit for the iPad IMO.

    • http://morereasonsyoushouldntfuckkids.tumblr.com Chungyen Chang

      Although it's not shown in the video, there's a landscape mode which is much easier to navigate than portrait.

  • Aaron

    OH NO! I was gonna get some work done today...

  • http://twitter.com/Inaba_kun Phil Baxter

    Wow, what a nice surprise, and as it's under 20mb, it can even be grabbed over 3G.

    GameDev Story sucked up many, many hours of my time. If this is even half as good, I'll be busy for weeks.

  • Suzanne

    Instabuy! I can tell already that my productivity for the rest of the day (and probably week) is shot to heck.

  • http://twitter.com/Inaba_kun Phil Baxter

    I'm already addicted to this. It's similar to Game Dev Story, but this time you can build new rooms and facilities too. Top stuff, I love it!

  • Robotron2084

    Hot springs? Boring. No interest.

    GDS was interesting because it was about making games.

    • AarnaK

      how can you said that is boring!? The only word i can say about hot spring story is addicted :)

  • Kaydiv

    I got it, and I love it... but it just ate my five-hour save file.

  • Dumpling321

    MAN!! i spent like 8 hours playing this yesterday, I was going to play some dead space 2, but this just sucked my time away and before i knew it the day was over...

  • KaiiFann

    Kairosoft, your the best! I love the graphics and playing with this cute, little, pixelated characters are just the bonus! I love to see more games like this & GameDevStory. I checked in your website, I saw all your games, I was amazed on the one that you get to build the shopping mall and the one that you create a cruise ship :)

  • yanhua wu

     88Amity3:

    Uggs Boots