Developed by:WayForward Technologies Published by:Game Mill Entertainment Genre(s):
  • Platformer
  • Platform:
  • Handhelds
  • Cost:$29.99 ESRB Rating:EVERYONE 10+ Players:1 Release date:September 18, 2012 Reviewed on:DS

    Hotel Transylvania

    In my opinion, Castlevania and Metroid are the best examples of a platformer with non-linear exploration as the main focus. They do it so well that a new term was created, Metroidvania, to describe games that feature similar gameplay mechanics. Hotel Transylvania, from Game Mill, is the newest title on the block to be labeled in such a way. Being a licensed title that reminds me of the great gameplay featured in a title like Castlevania is a good thing; it’s already starting off on good footing. That’s not to stay that it doesn’t stumble a bit.

    Hotel Transylvania’s story is a little different than the popular animated movie it is based on. Just like the film, there’s still a hotel and Dracula is still gathering monsters to celebrate his daughter’s 118th birthday. The hotel is a place where monsters can vacation without worrying about humans (their mortal enemies) carrying torches and burning down the joint. All things were going as planned; at least that was the case until a completely oblivious human shows up for the festivities. Mavis, Dracula’s daughter, has never seen a human; Dracula plans to keep it that way. This is where things start to switch up for the game. The game introduces this human as Johnnystein, a human dressed up as Frankenstein who’s befriended Mavis. Quasimodo, the hotel’s chef, knows Johnny is a human and plans to turn him into soup de jour for the guests to eat during Mavis’ party. It’s up to Mavis to stop Quasimodo and rescue her friend.

    With licensed titles, it’s great to have a slightly different story than original source media. This is due to the fact the companies involved with the base product, in this case Sony Pictures, don’t know much about gaming. They want a game that is just like their movie, book, show, etc. and they often don’t care what gaming conventions are shamefully stuffed into the final product as long as it’s released in time for the big premiere. So I’m glad that WayForward chose to make a decent game and not just a bare bones tie-in to the movie. That said, I’m a little shocked at the end results.

    Over the course of the game, players will platform their way around this giant hotel in search of…everything but Johnny. Most of Mavis’ time is spent on random fetch quests in lieu of saving her friend. Apparently, with all of the monsters showing up, there is a lot of disorder in the hotel. Werepups are stealing things, big foot has lost his luggage, someone needs this and someone needs that. Having to help out all of these monsters creates an absurd amount of backtracking throughout the hotel. That luggage quest I mentioned before had me all running from one end of the game’s world to the next. This was made worse by the fact that if I died, I would respawn at the beginning of the last area she was in. Any items that were collected in the area before the game saved (which happens whenever you enter a new area), would need to be picked up again. This isn’t a problem in terms of a fair punishment for dying, but it can be frustrating to have to venture back through a dangerous area to recollect the items that were lost. Some of the places you have to explore are vast and confusing to navigate through; even if you’ve found what you needed before dying, getting to it again can be just as tough.

    There are fun elements sprinkled in though. The actual platforming is good; there aren’t any places where the camera is wonky, Mavis can jump pretty high, and each area is adequately designed. Completing quests will lead to boss “puzzles”. I say puzzle because there’s only one real boss character in the game. After completing these puzzles, Mavis is granted a new ability, which allows her to reach areas of the hotel that were deemed off limits. Being able to turn into a bat is a great way to reach an elevated platform. Collecting jewels serves a purpose outside of a high score; grabbing 100 of them will get you another heart container (a longer life bar). The enemies you’ll encounter can be taken out using magic or the tried and true “jump on the head” maneuver. All and all, I can see why this would be appealing to kids (the target audience). The few gaming conventions Hotel Transylvania has are well implemented.

    When it comes to adults well…we aren’t the target audience. All of the crazy backtracking will feel artificial to seasoned gamers. It’s as if the developers just needed to pad the experience which isn’t too bad, given the type of game. Decent licensed games are hard to come by and WayForward is known for doing a good job making them. I guess that’s why I was hoping that there was more to this game then what’s presented. As it stands, even with all the padding, I was able to beat the game in less than four hours. As a parent, my purchase would be determined mainly by how long my child will enjoy this game (outside of its rating and subject matter of course). Those four hours may turn into ten depending on your child’s level of skill and patience. Apart from that, I don’t see any reason why this shouldn’t be enjoyed by fans of the film!




    The platform mechanics are there. The crazy backtracking may frustrate you though.



    The characters certainly looked like their big screen counterparts.



    The music wasn’t anything great, though it didn’t hurt the experience either.

    What's New:


    When it comes to this genre, Hotel Transylvania doesn’t add much.

    Replay Value:


    While I’m not the target audience, I still think it’s rather on the short side in terms of game length and content.

    Final Score:


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