The Hotel Transylvania franchise is 10 years old this year, and after four films Outright Games has now released their second videogame based on the series. Hotel Transylvania: Scary-Tale Adventures is available for all major platforms, and we checked out the PlayStation 5 version.
The Hotel Transylvania films have been very successful in bringing the world of horror, usually for a 16+ demographic, to families. With plenty of in-jokes, they appeal to parents as well as their children, so we were definitely hoping for a similar effect in the games. Drakhar Studio was on development duty for this one, and because of their track record in developing games (like Paw Patrol) for Outright we knew they weren’t new at this gig either.
Hotel Transylvania: Scary-Tale Adventures is an action adventure game that’s not directly based on the plot for any of the existing films. It features original story content, but unlike the recent PJ Masks game there’s no story arch that stays with you for the entire game. Instead, things start off with Drac reading to the kids from a story book in front of the fire, after which you can select which story to read (and thus play). There are only two stories to choose from at first, but you unlock more content as you go along.
To give you an idea of what to expect, one of the initial stories is called “Little Red Riding… Boo!” and is based on the classic fairytale, while “The Cave of Treasures” is loosely based on Aladdin. These stories star Hotel Transylvania characters like Mavis and Drac, and put a Transylvania spin on the original story and theme. In terms of in-jokes, it’s a great idea, as parents and possibly a lot of children will be familiar with the source content that’s being used here.
The storytelling aspect that’s introduced at the start also carries over to the game itself, as Drac regularly narrates what you’re doing. This is often in the shape of a quick hint or tutorial message, and the voice actor does a decent job with the voice as well. Once Drac starts to repeat himself it can get a little tiring, but for younger children it’s nice to have this connection to the franchise’s characters at all times.
Each story is built up out of several chapters, but the structure and gameplay of each chapter are often familiar. Hotel Transylvania: Scary-Tale Adventures is a typical 3D action adventure that combines platforming elements with simple combat. The controls are easy and responsive, but with a control scheme that uses several face buttons at once this isn’t a game that’s well suited to the youngest players – the films may be PG material, but we reckon that this is a game best enjoyed by kids aged 7 or older.
Playing through all the story content will take you about five to six hours, which seems typical for a title in the family friendly genre of games. Hotel Transylvania: Scary-Tale Adventures’s audiovisual presentation starts off strong with great likenesses and good voice acting during the intro sequence, but the in-game action platforming is more akin to something from the PS3 era with an HD filter. That won’t scare off the target audience though, because as relatively generic as the gameplay might be, it makes good use of the source material to provide a few hours of fun. It’s a shame that it was designed as a single player only adventure, but Hotel Transylvania fans will enjoy it.