Most of my gaming life is preoccupied with time-consuming RPGís, so itís nice to break away from time to time to something more casual like a simple platform game on my Nintendo 3DS, and since Iím a fan of CG movies I thought Hotel Transylvania might have been one of those rare exceptions in making a successful transition from big screen to dual screen. Sadly, it wasnít.
I loved the movie, Hotel Transylvania, and there was so much potential in what could have been a great game in any of numerous genres on any system, but this seems to be the weakest possible effort with the least amount of ambition for a game that was obviously rushed to meet a theatrical release date tie-in. You play as Mavis, the daughter of Dracula, who will be exploring rather simplistic levels populated with even more simplistic enemies in gameplay that appears to be a mix of Castlevania meets Mario Brothers - according to my brother who was looking over my shoulder.
You walk and jump around collecting gems and dancing on the heads of enemies to stun or destroy them as you seek out the required object of your quest as assigned by a variety of hotel guests and other characters. The bottom screen features a map that shows where you are in relation to everything else, but that is the extent of any features exclusive to the 3DS other than the 3D effect itself, which is surprisingly either on or off. The slider offered no discernible variance in the 3D depth, but at least the 3D is solid and even slightly impressive at times with in-your-face foreground objects and yellow gleaming eyes recessed into the walls.
Despite levels that range from outdoors to a clock tower, to a cathedral, and even some creepy catacombs, the maze-like arrangement of maps and ledges are mindlessly repetitive, and the fact that you are forced to backtrack over the same areas will have even the most tolerant of young gamers sighing in boredom. By design, the game requires you to replay areas after you acquire new traversal abilities. There is no escalation of difficulty and by the time you get halfway through this 3-4 hour game youíll have seen everything, so there are no last minute surprises.
The gameplay can be frustrating with a jump button that doesnít always respond in a timely manner, meaning it is quite easy to miss a jump and fall several levels below and have to replay a lengthy jumping section or even worse, miss a head pounce and lose a heart. Even the enhanced abilities like wall-run and stare can be frustratingly unresponsive. If you die and restart at the checkpoint all of the monsters are back and locked into their predictable patterns, and checkpoints are a bit too spread out for a kid-targeted game.
There are some marginally interesting graphics in some of the background art, but monsters and even your character are simple sprites with little detail and jerky animation. I can think of a dozen better ways to have used this movie license and Iím not even a game designer. Skip this lame attempt at a platformer and spend the money on a movie ticket instead. Itís better 3D and almost as long as this game, and far more enjoyable.