Hotel Transylvania
Reviewed by Brandy Shaul
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2012-10-24 Nintendo 3DS Platform E10 (Everyone 10+) Wayforward / Game Mill

If there's one thing we've learned from the likes of the Chronicles of Riddick or Goldeneye 007, it's that movie based games don't have to be terrible, and yet time and time again developers are more concerned with rushing a product to release in time with the movie rather than actually releasing a quality product. Such is the case with Hotel Transylvania on Nintendo 3DS, a game that had a ton of potential, but doesn't live up to any of it.

In a nod to the film of the same name, Hotel Transylvania is set during Mavis's 118th birthday party, but as the daughter of Dracula, your life isn't as grand as you might imagine. Instead, Mavis has been turned into errand-girl in Dracula's hotel, as you must guide Mavis through a lackluster variety of boring locations, running back and forth retrieving items or delivering items to the hotel's many monster guests.

I'll admit that I haven't seen the Hotel Transylvania film, so perhaps that's why the game's setup seems so confusing. With gameplay that's desperately trying to live up to the likes of Castlevania, this side-scrolling platformer will see you jumping over gaps and traps, constantly bouncing on top of monsters' heads to either stun or defeat them. However, if Hotel Transylvania is supposed to be a retreat for monsters that wish to escape the pressures of normal life, why am I supposed to harm all of the monsters that are wandering the hotel's halls?

Enemies come in many shapes and sizes, some of which are too tall for Mavis to adequately attack without help, but they can all be defeated with a series of bounces to the head.

Gems are randomly scattered through the hotel's hallways and guest rooms, but there's no real incentive to actually collect them. If you do happen to die when engaging a monster or searching for gems, you'll simply show up at the beginning of your current room, so there's no real penalty to dying anyway. Furthermore, there's no real reason to try to gather gems or defeat enemies, as enemies respawn each time you enter a scene and you'll spend so much time backtracking through the game's same environments than there's no point in killing anything unless you canít progress without doing so. It's simply a waste of time.

In this is Hotel Transylvania's greatest flaw. The game's concept of unlocking additional powers to allow Mavis to access new sections of the hotel is a great one, but the incentive to doing so just isn't there. What's the point in learning how to freeze enemies in place or climb up walls if you're only going to run into the same set of mundane tasks even when you discover a new room? This archaic, cyclic formula of fetch quests might be acceptable by the industry's youngest gamers, but it doesn't do the game justice. What's more, the 3D is lackluster at best, with blurry lampposts or trees in the foreground that make environments confusing to navigate.

Add in some annoying disappearing platforms, a lack of adequate in-game instructions and a repetitive soundtrack and you have the formula for Hotel Transylvania's mediocrity. If there were more variety to the game's quest set or even more variety to the characters you'll be forced to repeatedly defeat, perhaps the game could have been more interesting. As it stands though, this is yet another disappointing movie game that screams of rushed production and simply doesn't live up to the games it's trying to be.