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Hotel Transylvania Dash HD

Score: 82%
ESRB: 4+
Publisher: PlayFirst
Developer: PlayFirst
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Puzzle (Time Management)

Graphics & Sound:

Hotel Transylvania Dash HD has very colorful aesthetics that still retain a sense of darkness to them; after all, we are talking about a hotel full of monsters. There are three areas of the hotel that youíll work in and each has a slightly different look. They are the Main Hotel, the Howling Wing and the Dungeon, which Drac is sprucing up for his daughter Mavisís 118th birthday. The Main Hotel and The Howling Wing are fairly similar in appearance, but the Dungeon has a tropical theme, as per Wavy Mavyís tastes. The overall look is medieval, yet cartoonish, so itís spooky, but cartoon-spooky. Dracula takes care of the hotel patrons needs and when he stands idly for a minute, he does a trick where he produces a green flame on his hand. Itís cute and light-hearted, just as I assume the movie is.

Let me clarify something for those who havenít played Hotel Dash, another popular PlayFirst title. Hotel Transylvania Dash HD IS Hotel Dash, only with a Hotel Transylvania skin placed on top. In other words, one game plays identically to the other and the characters behave the same, although these characters are monsters instead of people. Your characters include Flies, Frankensteins, Yetis, Swamp Monsters, Mrs. Blob, Werewolves and, oh the horror Ė Humans! Each one has their own quirks and Iíll discuss those more in Gameplay, but the designs are cute.

Thereís no voicework to be had, but the background music is appropriately spooky and works well for the game. The sound effects are identical to Hotel Dash, including door slams, the mop bucket or the sound of a breaking vase, etc. The one sound effect that does differ is the sound of Drac dropping off the dirty linens to the laundry. In Hotel Transylvania Dash HD, the linens are burned in a furnace, so thereís a lovely little sizzle when you drop them off.


Gameplay:

You play Hotel Transylvania Dash HD as Count Dracula, the main character from the film, and you and your daughter, Mavis, run the finest hotel around for catering to monsters. When a human discovers your hotel, he is sure to frighten the other ghastly patrons, especially when he brings more humans. Itís your job to keep everyone happy. To do this, youíll assign the guests to rooms, attempting to color match them to the color-coded rooms for more points, youíll drop off their luggage, bring them room service, towels and pillows as needed, chase the humans away from the other guests and clean up after them, readying the room for the next guest. If possible, it is best to chain these actions, performing multiples of the same action for increased bonus points. The more money you earn, the more upgrades youíll be able to purchase in between levels. The upgrades include a bigger cart to carry luggage and other items, more speed in performing your actions, dťcor for your hotel to increase the guestsí patience, a faster mop for cleanup, music to soothe the savage soul, and so on. Each upgrade can also be "upgraded" making it faster and better the more you spend. There are ten levels for each wing of the hotel for a total of 30 levels, with more wings to open at a later date, presumably through an update to the game.

You also have the task of fixing up a particular wing or room in whichever location you are currently working in and youíll do this in between levels with the Blood Bills you earn. You earn Blood Bills by buying Blood Drops with the normal cash you earn and you can have up to three per hotel room door. When you complete a level, youíll have a chance to spend the Blood Bills you have earned on things like lighting, furniture and dťcor for a particular room, all themed to match the spooky design ideas of that wing. You might see Dr. Frankensteinís hospital bed in one and a tropical bed in another.

Your various patrons will have different quirks as well, such as wanting double orders of room service, having little to no patience, being very noisy, not letting other patrons pass until they are served, etc. By learning what each different guest type wants, you can anticipate their needs to help you create longer chains of events for more moolah.


Difficulty:

Hotel Transylvania Dash HD is a basic Time Management game. In fact, as I mentioned earlier, it is Hotel Dash with a new skin over it. If you are well-versed in Time Management games, youíll have no problems with the level of difficulty. Guests will enter on the bottom floor of the hotel, and youíll need to drag them to the appropriate room, then proceed to bring their luggage and wait on them. What I did find a bit difficult was the fact that the monsters donít seem to keep their places in line. To clarify, in Hotel Dash, people would line up in an orderly line and you could grab anyone from any part in the line and drop them at their room. When youíd look back at the line, those behind have moved up, but everyone retains their relative spot in the line. In Hotel Transylvania Dash HD, when I would grab someone from the line, trying to keep them in order of arrival, they didnít seem to maintain their proper spots in line. It may have something to do with the smaller screen real estate of the iPad, but it was a little frustrating, because I prefer to keep everyone in order, if possible, so I donít have guests lose their patience at being skipped.

Game Mechanics:

Hotel Transylvania Dash HD utilizes typical iPad controls, which means youíll be doing your fair share of tapping the screen and dragging things about. Itís all pretty basic and it works well, when it works. The reason I say that is because there were times that I tapped a location for Dracula to visit and drop something off and he wouldnít. For instance, once you check a guest out and remove the dirty linens, I always like to "restock" the room with a welcome basket, in this case, a worm pie. So Iíll go ahead and load up the appropriate number of worm pies prior to checking out the guests so I can then go back and place the pies at the rooms. Iíll then queue up a number of other actions in a row, to maximize the chaining of events so that I earn the maximum amount of money. However, a lot of times, Dracula wonít actually drop the worm pie, so Iíll realize, several events down the road, that I still have a few worm pies on my cart and they are taking up room. This happens with luggage sometimes as well, and while it may not seem like a big deal, it will definitely screw up your chains of events and hence, your bonus. While this is something that did occur on occasion in Hotel Dash, itís a regular occurrence in Hotel Transylvania Dash HD and a real annoyance.

The only other thing of note is the fact that you can only play the game vertically. In other words, you canít rotate your iPad from tablet to widescreen such that you can play the game that way. It is locked into the tablet position. While it may not seem like a big deal, I always tend to play in widescreen and my case has a stand for that mode, so if I am playing Hotel Transylvania Dash HD, I have to hold the iPad in my hands, which is a drag.

Hotel Transylvania Dash HD is a free game and for that price, itís a fun ride. There are only three areas to play, with the promise of more, but this game just doesnít hold the same appeal for me that Hotel Dash did, and still does. To be perfectly honest, I reviewed Hotel Dash several years ago and I still play it on a regular basis, just for fun. I donít see myself going back to Hotel Transylvania Dash HD, simply because of the frustrations with the controls. But again, since it is free, if you or your kids like Time Management games and you are looking for something with a Hotel Transylvania theme, this is it.


-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins

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