LifeisXbox’s Hotel Transylvania: Scary-Tale Adventures review | Back in child’s shoes. That’s always my first feeling when I play a game published by Outright Games. Trollhunters. Dreamworks Spirit. Gigantosaurus. PAW Patrol and many other games have been released by the kid-friendly publisher. Quality-wise it goes from bad (PAW Patrol: On a Roll) to excellent (Ice Age Scrat’s Nutty Adventure), as a reviewer, it ain’t always easy to stay focused on these games. The difficulty is low and repetition kicks in quickly. So what about Hotel Transylvania: Scary-Tale Adventures? It was immediately clear that this wasn’t going to be Outright Games best experience. Even for kids, developer Drakhar Studio made some questionable decisions regarding mechanics. It gets scary bad sometimes, especially the visuals are Xbox unworthy.
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series X | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion from the writer.
What we Liked!
- Three classic fairy tales with a Hotel Transylvania twist | The Emperor’s New Clothes, Ali Baba and Little Red are used as a backbone for Hotel Transylvania: Scary-Tale Adventures stories. Split into 13 different chapters, that take around half an hour to finish. With the family around the fireplace or before sleepytime. We all remember and love that time as a kid, right? It is lovely to recognise these classics but seeing the characters from Transylvania inside these stories is very well done. Mavis for example, the daughter of Count Dracula and my personal favorite character from the franchise plays little red riding hood.
- Gameplay aimed for kids | The platforming gameplay has been kept particularly simple, thinking of course of the little people. Jump from one platform to another and defeat some stupid enemies. There are also some special moves per character and super easy puzzles that lab rats can solve without help. This is certainly not a negative point because of the target audience, older gamers will find it repetitive and slightly boring.
- Sound | The sound, especially the music, is much better than what we see visually. The voice work is really good and the typical sounds while playing have a funny undertone. More diversity would have been welcome as sounds get reused a lot, especially in combat.
What we Disliked
- Dracula might be immune to daylight but I am allergic to terrible visuals | The environment and texture quality in Hotel Transylvania: Scary-Tale Adventures is quite a shock. I was constantly thinking that the game was simply in some kind of alpha or beta phase. The skyline in the distance is constantly disappearing, as if it is the Milford Sound coastline in New Zealand. The effect is a hideous sight that makes the player nauseous. The lack of visual polish is everywhere, objects pop out of nowhere or clip into walls. It is weird, to begin with, that the game struggles so much as the visuals lack good details. Even the frame rate dips often.
- World record of most invisible walls in a game | Players are encouraged to explore the levels as collectables are hidden everywhere. Chests, coins or things to smash are visually popping up everywhere. Nice for replay value but this raises fundamental issues. Normally game developers make sure to indicate the gameplay area with boundaries, think about fences, rocks or cliffs. In this case, the developers simply didn’t give a shit and designed this game with confusing invisible walls. It breaks immersion but it destroys some logic in the platforming sections too. Sometimes reaching platforms seem to be easy but is blocked by invisible walls, as the developer wants you to take another path.
- Camera | The camera never really knows where to go, so it decides to run around like a runaway wild boar. This is so bad that it is regularly difficult to have a decent depth perception during platform moments. It gets stuck behind rocks, decides to suddenly turn during a jump or does not stay nicely behind the playable character. Children who are just starting to play games will find it unnecessarily difficult. Controlling something as simple as a camera is much more difficult and annoying than it should be. Even for experienced players, this is a huge nuisance!
How long to beat the story | Six hours
How long to achieve 1000G | Ten hours
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