Addams Family Mystery Mansion Review: A Good Concept That Couldn’t Deliver

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It could have offered so much more. Pixowl

I've been a fan of The Addams Family for many years now, particularly the feature films released during the 1990s. I even watched that direct-to-video version starting Tim Curry. When I heard that they were releasing a new 3D animated film, I was a bit wary but also excited. Then I found out there was a mobile game based on the movie called The Addams Family - Mystery Mansion.

Developed by Pixowl, the game calls itself a home builder simulator. It took me some time to eventually play the game and by the time I did, well, let's just say it didn't live up to expectations.

The game follows Gomez and Morticia as they arrive at their ancestral home and find it bare. The challenge is to redecorate the house. The character models look really good, as they are the same as in the new movie. The graphics are excellent as well.

However, after just a few minutes in, I realized one important thing. The title is actually a misnomer, as there is technically no mystery to speak of. Well, maybe there are two mysteries. The first is the mystery of how you're going to decorate the house, and the second is the mystery of how long you're going to play before you stop.

While the game may say it's about home building, you'll be doing a ton of reading. There are cases when the text is small, making this a chore. For the character dialogue itself, I give it points for trying really hard to capture the humor that is The Addams Family.

For the actual gameplay, The Addams Family - Mystery Mansion has you finish objectives, also called wish lists, for Gomez and Tish. You earn experience and coins for completeing these wish lists, and can spend the coins on furniture to decorate your house. Here's where the "fun," starts, the game does what it can to get you to spend actual money. There are tasks that may take three hours to finish. Can't wait that long? Well, then use Rubies. Don't have any? Go buy some.

Here's another example. In one of the early quests, Tish needs you to unlock the stairs, by placing a telephone and a Grand Chandelier in the house. When you complete these three tasks you get two Rubies, 40 Stars, and 60 Coins. Simple right?

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One more tasks left. Photo: Pixowl

Here's the catch, in order to "get" the Grand Chandelier, you're going to need to spend some Rubies, 10 of them in fact.

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Need to use rubies. Photo: Pixowl

You'll also need to craft items, and if you don't have the necessary ingredients and don't have the patience to find them then again, you need to buy Rubies. In short, the game looks to be a cash grab. The only other option is to do some grinding, which rather defeats the purpose of games of this genre.

Cash-grab problems aside, it also looks as if the game doesn't know who its target demographic is. A home building game probably won't appeal to a child who may not even be familiar with the property. Then there's also the dialogue, which may be a bit complicated for the kids. In addition, adults may be willing to spend, but may not be happy about the need to grind. Guess that means we have three mysteries.

The Addams Family theme tells you that "When people come to see 'em, They really are a screaming." In this game you'll probably scream out of frustration. Ultimately The Addams Family Mystery Mansion is a game that could be so much more, but fails to make the best use of the unique characters of the franchise.

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