It's spooky, it's kooky, it's The Addams Family!
The Addams Family has had a presence in various multimedia platforms since its creation in 1938. A number of television series and feature films, both live action and animated, have been accompanied by books and even musicals. A few video game adaptations have spawned since 1989 and the latest is The Addams Family: Mansion Mayhem, inspired by the most recent animated film and its upcoming sequel.
Supporting up to 4 players in local co-op, players can assume the iconic roles of Gomez, Morticia, Wednesday and Pugsley, the father, mother, daughter and son respectively. Filled with puzzles, spooky monsters and creepy world design, Mansion Mayhem is a family friendly blend of monsters and platforming that players of all ages can enjoy.
There are four worlds to explore, all within the family's mansion. The Dining Room, Graveyard, Music Room and Laboratory worlds each contain 6 levels and 3 mini games, all of them taking place in unique sections of their respective worlds. This offers up a variety of quirky, spooky and joyful playgrounds rife with monsters to defeat, platforming sections and clever, yet simple puzzles to solve. The unique monster designs for each world offer a fun variety of spooky foes to vanquish that helps the playful world design feel even more varied.
The player is able to choose which of the four characters they want to play as at any time by returning to the main menu, though character selection is merely a cosmetic choice as none of the characters have unique abilities or perks to help them play or feel different to one another, they all move at the same pace and jump the same height for instance.
Each of the levels can be completed by simply reaching a portal at the end. Along the way there are plenty of enemies to defeat which can be done by bumping into them or by utilising one of the four special abilities that are triggered at specific parts of the levels.
The Mazurka Sabre can be used to hack and also through enemies and objects in the environment, the latter typically revealing coins called Doubloons to be collected.
The Longlegs Launcher is the equivalent of a web-shooter, not unlike Spider-man's ability, that can be used to shoot web at enemies or objects and drag them around the environment, commonly used to solve puzzles featuring pressure plates. A web-swing-like ability can also be used to attach to hooks and swing across gaps or avoid environmental hazards such as electricity and fire.
The Big Bomb is a fun one to experiment with, spawning a bomb beneath the feet of the player, letting them roll around freely on the bomb and crashing into enemies or objects to destroy them. As with the Longlegs Launcher this is required to solve some puzzles.
Finally, the Beak Blotter is a clone of Socrates, the octopus friend of Wednesday. Socrates sits on the players shoulder and squirt a stream of ink directly in front or, when jumping, shoots downwards to simulate a jetpack to cross gaps and solve puzzles.
These abilities are introduced one at a time upon entry two a new world, with different parts of the levels swiping what abilities come into play.
Most monsters can be defeated in a single attack but some larger enemies take a few hits to take down, keeping the combat aspect of Mansion Mayhem simple and accessible. Aside from monsters, there are 3 optional objectives in each level, and one per mini game, that each award a Family Crest when the criteria is met.
These are displayed at the beginning of the level and are fairly simple tasks such as collecting X amount of Doubloons, of which there are far more available than actually required, and finding and solving brief puzzles. While unlocking all 84 of these is completely optional, a total of 55 are required to unlock the final mini game, with each new level requiring a certain amount to access. These are fairly low requirements as most will be found fairly naturally with a little exploration.
One of the more fun elements of Mansion Mayhem are the mini games, all of which are completely unique, and a lot more fun in local multiplayer due to the competitive nature of trying to achieve the highest score while disrupting the other players from trying to win. These vary from on-rails type sequences that put the player on a raft trying to collect stars, or a pin-ball type machine played with a bomb. They are fun, visually interesting and short enough to avoid feeling repetitious.
The playful art design is inspired by the most recent animated film and its upcoming sequel and the style translates well into this video game adaptation. The monsters are creepy without being scary, the world is twisted enough without being gross and overall it just manages to make a spooky world look and feel fun, especially for younger players.
The score is appropriately light and charmingly spooky and the sound effects are pretty impressive considering the younger audience this title is intended for. Enough attention to detail has been paid to appeal to its mature player base too which is a thoughtful consideration of developer PHL Collective.
The Addams Family: Mansion Mayhem presents a fun and charming variety of levels, worlds and mini games to entertain players of all ages that can be enjoyed alone or with up to three other players, whether they choose to play through the story or just play the mini games against each other. Fans of the franchise and newcomers alike have a lot to enjoy here and being able to play as a family is as authentic of an Addams Family experience one could hope for.
So, what works?
Faithful art design consistent with the recent animated film
Creative level design
Fun, simple puzzles and platforming
Excellent mini game design
Fun co-operative play
And what doesn't?
Characters all play and feel the same
Gameplay a little too simplistic
The Addams Family: Mansion Mayhem was reviewed on Xbox Series X and will also be available on Xbox One/Series S, PlayStation 4/5, Nintendo Switch and PC when it launches in AU November 26.
Games of DAYNE
Games of DAYNE is a reviewer and Xbox Achievement Hunter based in Wangaratta, Australia. Video games keep him busy whether it’s playing, reviewing or achievement hunting and other than entering "Dad Mode" for two young boys under five and working full time as a cheesemaker, he exists almost exclusively in the world of gaming.